We have a new partner! The WCMG have signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding ’ with Beef+Lamb New Zealand to work together to help future-proof farming, our land and our community. This means that we will guide and host the Regenerating Hill Country research team at Mahia over the next four years. Any research or trials of new tools will be approved and co-designed by us and them. We’ll help each other interpret the results and tell our story together.
The Regenerating Hill Country project team has a mix of ecologists, geographers, social researchers, agronomists and farming experts. The coalition wants to integrate the knowledge of farmers’ and kaitiaki with science and to get on with practical work.
The researchers started in August by interviewing many of our farmers and kaitiaki about their long-term vision for Mahia and farming – thank you to all those who helped that first step. The next potential project is dung beetle releases in the coming summer and autumn. Next year we hope to bring forward a peninsula strategy to co-ordinate gorse and other weed control campaigns. Who knows where the coalition will go over the next three years – we’ll just get on with some joint work and hear what everyone living on the Peninsula want us to work on next. We won’t be able to realise all our dreams but we can give it a crack.
The signing of the MOU was marked by presentation of a gift to our community from Beef+Lamb New Zealand – two traditional ‘pōhā’ of preserved tītī (muttonbirds). The birds were harvested by the Rakiura whānau from Murihiku, some of whom are descendants of the Tākitimu waka that brought the Mahia iwi to Aotearoa. Rimarapa (bull kelp) is split and made into a bag – the muttonbirds are packed inside and the air squeezed out with fat so the birds stay fresh, for several years if need be. Totara bark is inserted to protect the kelp bag, traditional knots and a kete are woven to hold the pōhā together – how’s that for an ancient and natural form of vacuum packing!? You can watch a video about making pōhā at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwVMlODvWNc and of course, when you are ready, there is a good feed or two of tītī to be eaten from the bags. Mauri ora!