Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
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Creating a legacy of which their children and their children's mokopuna can be proud helps drive a Ngāti Mākino planting and riparian restoration programme.
At Ōtamarākau in the eastern Bay of Plenty a team of three is working to mitigate the effects generations of tauiwi agricultural practices have inflicted on the land and the Waitahanui Stream.
The Waitahanui rises north of Lakes Rotoehu and Rotoma, 155km inland. It is spring fed and pristine for much of its length.
Project Manager John Rapana, Hunga tiaki ia Waitahanui Te Hau Richard Mitai Ngatai and Blake Stephens have the mammoth job of clearing weeds and restoring native species to reduce the effects of nitrates within our awa tūpuna.
It's no easy task and not a short-term project. It's also not just about tough physical work.
"It's a paradigm shift that prioritises Mātauranga Māori at the forefront. New and challenging," says John.
"However, rewarding knowing that the restoration work done over time will benefit our taiao and taonga species for future generations.
"This kaupapa is something new that inspires and challenges a different way of thinking and re-connecting to our whenua and tupuna methodologies."
As well, it had created job opportunities, providing learning and upskilling for potential environmental pathways.
At its core is mātauranga Māori. A site visit shows the first baby steps the team has made.
Because of the milder seaside climate the plants grow faster than they do near Rotoiti-Rotomā.
"I'd like to be here in five to 10 years when we will be able to see how big they have grown," says Te Hau of the mānuka, kānuka, tī kouka, kahikatea and many other natives they have so far planted.
As well, the team has managed willows and other pest weeds such as blackberry and Japanese honeysuckle.
He has been working on the project to restore Ngāti Mākino lands for at least two years and was able to secure funding for two fulltime workers.The work schedule ties in with the māramataka simplified for their purposes by Ngā Pātaka Korero ō Te Arawa.
"This project attempts to decolonise the current Gregorian calendar and operate a full-time schedule under the lunar-stellar system.
"It aligns to our fundamental way of living, moving with the environment that determines how we operate."
All health and safety requirements has been implemented as the foundations of their work place and work standards that required specialised training.
"This kaupapa is driven under the Te Uru Rākau 1BT Project where Sarah Sinclair-Taikato and Cherie Rangiahua played a significant role to this unique framework.
"And we have the continued support of Wildlands Consultants staff Rob Ranger and Gary Coker who provide professional advice to the ecological aspects of our mahi."
Backgrounding the project, John said the Ngāti Mākino Iwi Authority set out strategic objectives set by our people to undertake environmental projects the enhances our taiāo.
Te Mahere Rautaki Pāhekoheko o te Waitahanui is the official name of the programme.
"It was led at the time by Dr Kēpa Morgan and illustrated a process to achieve the environmental aspirations of our people, notably through the support of our board and our leaders Te Ariki Morehu, Muriwai Ihakara and Hare Wiremu.
"Therefore, it has been our role to apply our strategy and execute it."
A key topic discussed and learned onsite are about connections to tupuna and areas of cultural significance from Ōhinepanea to Ōtamarākau to Ōtari to Matawhaura.
"Learning and exploring Mākino pā that re-connects ourselves to our whenua and our tupuna that occupied them."
Most of the puke (hills) marching from the sea inland were the sites of pa in ancient times.
So where to from here?
"We need to invest and apply "paradigm shift" projects that enhance the mauri of our taiāo, and projects that enhances the mana of our people," said John.
"We need to continue to create opportunities for our people in the environmental-technological space — to develop networks and relations to establish learning hubs that upskill our people creating employable employees."
Technology and IT were definitely key for the project.
"Kirti Chandarana was influential with applying technology in an environmental space. ArcGIS is a tool that was initially used to illustrate and calculate the make-up of our project."
On the future, John said it would continue to be challenging.
"Education is key. With wharekura/kura kaupapa students furthering their education from university, this pathway allows them to move confidently and competently in both worlds prioritising their natural lens through Te Āo Māori"
Te reo translation
Ko te whakarauora whenua me te whakatō rākau Māori hai whakareretanga mō ngā uri o Ngāti Makino te pūtake o tētehi kaupapa whakaheke werawera.
Kai Ōtamarākau tētehi ohu tokotoru noa te rahi o ngā tangata e whakahuri ana i ngā tūkinotanga whenua a ngā whakareanga tauiwi e hia kē noa atu, hāunga te whenua, tōtoro kau atu hoki tēnei aroha ki te awa o Waitahanui.
Kai te Tokerau o Rotoehu me te Rotomā āhua 155 kiromita ki tuawhenua tēnei awa. He puna wai Māori tapu noa tana rērere.
Ko John Rapana te Pou-kaiawhā o tēnei ohu, ko Te hungatiaki i a Waitahanui te ingoa o ōna ringa rehe, ko Te Hau Richard Mitai-Ngātai me Blake Stephens ēnei tokorua. Ko te huhuti tarutaru kia mā ai te whenua me te whakatō rākau Māori tā rāua mahi e Māori anō ai te awa o Waitahanui.
He mahi whatiwhati kō e hika ma! Kauaka mo te wā poto kau noa iho! " Ko te hokinga tēnei o te Māori ki ōna mātauranga taketake koina te ihu o te waka!" Hai tā John. " Whoi anō ko te oranga o te ngākau kai te mōhiotanga, ka ngāwhātia ngā painga ngerongero o te taiao mā ngā whakareanga".
"He tauhou tēnei momo kaupapa kua roa e ngaro atu ana ki te whakaaro. Mātua, ko te hononga o te tangata ki te whenua ko te whenua ki te tangata".
He painga anō hoki kua ara ake he mahi e ora ai ngā tangata nō roto i a Ngāti Makino me te whakawhanake i ngā pūkenga o ngā poumahi i roto i te taiao. Ko te mātauranga Māori te uho o tēnei kaupapa. Rokohanga atu ngā hua o tēnei kaupapa he ahakoa hai tuatahitanga – ka kitea.
Na te hātaitanga o tēnei takiwā e kaha ake ai te tupu a ngā rākau tēnā i ngā rākau i Te Rotoiti i tuawhenua.
"Ka nui toku hiahia kia hoki mai ahau ki kōnei hai te pounga o ngā tau e rima, tekau rānei, kātahi rā ka tino mana ai ngā moemoeā o te whatumanawa", koia ki tā Te Hau kōrero e hāngai ana ki te mānuka, te kānuka, te tī kōuka, te kahikātea me te mano noa atu o ngā rākau kua whakatōkia e ia. Mātua hoki ko te penapena i ngā rākau wīro me ngā rākau Pākehā.
Kua rua tau a John e mahi ana i tēnei kaupapa mā Ngāti Makino. Nō ngā tata tonu nei ia ka whakawhiwhia ki te tāhua pūtea e whiwhi mahi ai ōna pou tokorua nei. Kai te arahina tēnei kaupapa e te māramataka, he puna mātauranga i taka iho i ngā pātaka kōrero o Te Arawa. " Ko te whakamātātaratia i te māramataka pākehā kia Māori kau – kia hoki te Māori ki te ao Māori .
"Kia ngātahi anō ai te tangata me te taiao kia ngātahi anō ai te tangata ki te tukinga whenua kia tika katoa ngā whakahaerenga".
Kua whakamanahia ngā tikanga tiaki tangata koia ēnei hai tūāpapa mō tēnei kaupapa, me he mahi whakahirahira ka tonoa ngā pūkenga ki te whakaako i ngā pou mahi kia eke ai rātou ki te pae o te māramatanga.
"Kai te mana o Te Uru Rakau 1BT Project tēnei kaupapa he mea i tino whakaritea e Sarah Sinclair-Taikato me Cherie Rangiahua kia tika rawa te pou tarāwaho." Kai te tino tautokongia hoki mātou e ngā pou mahi o Wildlands Consultants. Ko Rob Ranger me Gary Coker ēnei pūkenga taiao ka kaha tāhuri mai rāua ki a mātou inoi awhina".
Ko te tāhūhū o tēnei kaupapa he mea i āta whakaarohia a rautaki nei e Ngāti Makino Iwi Authority ko ngā pou rautaki i ahu mai i te hapū ake, tūturu kia pōhutu ai te mauriora o te whenua ko Te Mahere Rautaki Pāhekoheko o te Waitahanui tōna taitara.
"Na Tākuta Kēpa Morgan i waha i taua wā tonu he mea i kaha tautokona e te Pōari me ngā kōeke o Ngāti Makino pēnei i a Te Ariki Morehu rātou ko Muriwai Ihakara ko Hare Wiremu.
"Nā reira ko tā mātou ko te whakatinana i te rautaki a te iwi". Ko tētehi mea nui ko te whakakorero i te whenua me ngā wāhi tapu timatahia i Ōhinepanea ka rere ki Ōtamarākau ki Ōtari ki Matawhaura."
Ko te whakahonohono i a tātou ki ngā hītoria ake o Ngāti Makino, ngā tupuna me ngā rangatira nāna enei pā i toutoua". Ko te nuinga o ngā puke e tū raranga kau atu ana ki te moana he pā maioro . Nā reira te pātai ka ahu tātou ki hea?
"Me kaha te whakapono, mātua, me whakatinanahia te whakahuringa o ngā whakaaro ki ngā kaupapa whakawhanake i te mauri o te taiao me te mana o te iwi ", hai tā John. " Me kaha hoki rā e tātou ki te whakapūare i ngā tatau ki te mahi e ora ai te iwi, mātua i te wāhanga hangarau a taiao nei kia hono atu ai tātou ki ngā mātanga e pupū ake ai te hinengaro e whakatupu anō ai ngā pūkenga o te iwi – ko te pae tawhiti ko te whakapakari i a Ngāti Makino tangata mo te ao".
Ko te hangarau me te IT ngā tino wāhanga o tēnei kaupapa. " Kirti Chandarana koia mō te whakaū i te hangarau ki te taiao . I whakapakarihia tēnei kaupapa i a ArcGIS ". He mōhio hoki nō John ka tini hoki ngā taumahatanga hai te pae tawhiti. He aha rā!
"Ko te mātauranga te oranga. Kai te whakatupungia ngā pia o te Wharekura me te Kura Kaupapa ki te wairua o te whaiwhai mātauranga e rangatira ai rātou ki te haere i ngā ao e rua." Ko te kai o te rangatira he mātauranga, nōna te ao.