Local rangatahi will plant pohutukawa trees along the banks of Te Utuhina stream at the launch of the new Te Arawa Wai Warriors kaupapa.
The ceremony is being held at Ohinemutu tomorrowstarting at 4.30pm and will be hosted by Te Arawa Whanau Ora and Te Komiro o Te Utuhina.
Te Arawa Whanau Ora Collective Impact manager Jenny Kaka-Scott said the launch was about ensuring the appropriate karakia were delivered at the beginning of the Wai Warriors journey, which would teach 75 young people what it meant to be hunga tiaki (guardians) of Rotorua lakes and waterways.
"The significance of pohutukawa is two-fold. Symbolically we're planting our kaupapa steadfastly into the ground. Environmentally the pohutukawa will nurture both the whenua and the wai."
She said pohutukawa gave good shade to water, help to hold up river banks, curb erosion and provide sanctuary for koura, eels and other water life.
"It's our hope that these beautiful native trees become an enduring living koha for the hapu and whanau who have allowed us to embark from their traditional whenua and wai."
Te Komiro o te Utuhina member Lani Kereopa said the local group was passionate about cleaning up and restoring Te Utuhina stream.
"It's wonderful that Wai Warriors are being connected to Te Arawa waterways. Connecting the children with their local waterways should be part of the curriculum in every local school.
"This includes swimming in them, cleaning them, and making kaitiakitanga a natural part of their lives."
The date for the launch was guided by Te Maramataka – the lunar calendar and a traditional Maori system that has huge significance and relevance for hunga tiaki and the role they fulfil in caring for the whole environment.
January 31 is in the phase of Oturuturu – a time of reflection and spiritual introspection, good for planting and fishing and preceding a time of growth and abundance.
The organisers look forward to the launch and encourage all those who are interested in being a part of this kaupapa to go along.