Between Friday 16th- May until 19th May Nic Caviale had the
privilege of flying to Rarotonga to meet with an environmental community
group based in Muri. Through the IRF River Foundation-winners are given the
financial opportunity to develop a relationship with a foreign country. The
objective is to share lessons and skills learnt and then mutually benefit from
this expertise which can create an opportunity such as restoring a river.
These partnerships are
an exchange of experience and skills based around personal relationships. IRF
assists by facilitating these partnerships and acting as a catalyst to help
partners with seed funding and match networking opportunities.
The Muir community is
based in the Takitimu district and is closely connected to the many waka who
gathered in the Bay before starting the long journey towards Aotearoa (New
Zealand). The strong Whakapapa connection found
between the Muri community and our Wairoa district is extremely valuable and
something we want to build on.
This part of the island
is going through rapid development due to the expansion of tourism. This
rapport expansion is happening without any major infrastructure upgrade which
heavily affects the environment in general. During my visit I saw how the
wetlands at the foot of the hills were disappearing and filled in to build new
hotel and shops.
These wetlands offer a buffer from heavy rain falls which not only delay the flow of water but also filter the water before it reaches the beautiful Muir Lagoon. Climate change is also affecting the island in general by creating more frequent high rainfall events. The rise o sea level is also a challenge for the Cook Islands in general . The challenge lays in finding the balance between the development of tourism, the upgrade of public infrastructure and the protection of water quality both in the fresh water and the lagoon. The Muri restoration group has always been proactive and we are looking forward to the possibility of developing this relationship further in the future.
On Tuesday the 7th of May, Duncan Harrisson and Phil Hancook from Ministry of Primary Industries visited members of the Whangawehi project to talk about the Billion Tree Project.
The scheme offers two avenues-one of which is the partnership pathway. This pathway is designed to increase planting by promoting innovation, research and workforce initiatives with the intention of scaling up native regeneration projects. Duncan and Phil visited several areas of interest and are now fully aware of the scale of our operation. A big thank you to Duncan and Phil for taking the time to meet with our landowners.
On Saturday the 4 th of May 2019, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group hosted a community planting day out on Taharoa Trust-a family farm owned by Pat and Sue O’Brien.
The day went extremely well with an overwhelming attendance of more than 50 participants ranging from the very young to the more mature folk! Gumboots were essential on the day due to the bulk of the planting been based around the periphery of a wetland. The highlight of the day was listening to the sweet violin playing by local violinist John De La Haye who set the tone with some invigorating Irish classics. The variety of delicious cakes offered by local ladies at lunch time also helped keep the momentum going.
A big thank you to all the participants-especially those who came as far as Havelock North and Gisborne to give us a hand. The group would also like to thank all our funders with a special pat on the back to the Wai Maori Trust who have funded a large part of this work alongside Nga Whenua Rahui.
Thanks to you all for supporting our community initiative. We look forward to seeing you again in the future.
On the 30th of April 2019, Nick Beeby, General Manager – Market Development for Beef and Lamb came to visit the Whangawehi project. Nick presented the newly launched Taste Pure Nature brand. A very constructive discussion took place afterwards as the Whangawehi farmers are looking at branding their environmental work to leverage a premium. It is the early days but all farmers agreed on the need to have a strong Quality Assurance programme to underpin any brand. Nick provided advice and feedback on a number of farm related topics. A big thank you to Beef and Lamb and Nick in particular for making himself available to help our community.
On the 25th of March, Te Mahia School was preparing for the School Gala and the students decided to make clay products, such as fridge magnets and small pots, that would reflect the nature of Mahia. Jenny helped them to, create, using correct techniques, successful saleable items. The Room 2 items were colored and subsequently bisque fired in the kiln in town.
We also checked out how our Predator Free plan was progressing and the Landscape Survey results to date. Well done Te Mahia school.