A new charitable trust which aims to restore life to the Waitangi awa is calling for volunteers to help plant trees along the river banks.
Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust launched early this year with the aim of regenerating the mauri (life force) of the Waitangi River through restoration, education and creating employment for local people.
This weekend the trust will host a public tree planting event supported by Sustainable Coastlines, ANZ, Bay of Islands College, The Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust and The Waitangi Catchment Forum, which was set up by Northland Regional Council to foster kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the area.
"The Waitangi Catchment Forum has done fantastic work over the years developing connections and restoration strategy throughout the diverse communities within this catchment — and now it is time for action," said Sam Judd, interim chief executive of the trust.
Ngati Kawa Taituha, chairman of Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust, said through the Waitangi Catchment Forum they had learned a lot about what was impacting the river - farming, forestry and industrial sites up the river - and something needed to be done.
"We want more kai in there - watercress, tuna and more clean pipis down the (sea) end. And to stop all the sediment from going out into the bay because it's suffocating all the rest of it," he said.
The trust is working closely with local schools - particularly Bay of Islands College - to foster kaitiakitanga by involving students in citizen science with Whitebait Connection.
The Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust logo was also designed through a competition at college.
"We want to teach the kids about the river from a Māori perspective first, share some mātauranga Māori about our culture and our heritage so that's a fundamental part of it all. We want to teach them how to be kaitiaki." Taituha said.
The trust need more volunteers to help plant trees at a public event on Saturday, July 25, 10am to 3.30pm at 1/141 Jameson Esplanade, Haruru.
The trees for planting were grown with help from prison nurseries in Auckland and Northland from locally collected seeds.
To register for the planting visit sustainablecoastlines.org/event/waitangi-planting-day-anz-lyw-tour-2020/.
Punters should bring gumboots or sturdy, closed-toe shoes that you don't mind getting a bit muddy; warm and waterproof clothes; at least one warm top layer and a rain jacket; a sun hat and sunscreen and a reusable water bottle, filled up and ready to go.