By Aroha Treacher
New employment prospects have meant a fresh start for 10 Hawke's Bay locals who will be officially welcomed into their new kaitiaki ranger roles with Te Wai Mauri Trust on the October 27.
The welcome will take place at 8.30am at Te Ara o Tāwhaki Marae on the EIT campus followed by a five-week kaitiaki training programme created in partnership with Te Wai Mauri Trust.
This specialised training gives them the skills and qualifications to efficiently undertake contracted field-based conservation and environmental work, fencing, riparian planting and pest control within the region.
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This will lead to initial training projects on the Tūtaekurī river, Ōtātara Pā reserve, Waiōhiki Marae and the papa kainga at Waiōhiki.
New kaitiaki ranger Helena Bentley Bradshaw, 22, was excited and proud to find out she had secured a position on the team.
"I'm really happy because of what this job represents, it lines up with my morals and I wanted to get back to my culture and understand how to really look after the land."
The programme is supported by the Ministry of Social Development, and the new team are employed by the Te Wai Mauri Environmental Trust. It received funding from the Provincial Growth Fund announced at the beginning of the month, enabling training and paid employment for whānau to achieve their role as a kaitiaki (guardianship of the land).
This has meant future security for some of the new rangers who were previously unemployed. Seven of them are whakapapa to Ngāti Pārau.