- Mahia Peninsula is an Isthmus island on the East Coast of the North Island between Gisborne and Napier.
- In July 2010 the local community of Whangawehi raised the issue of the potential effects of the Mahia Beach Community Waste Water System and other land uses on the water quality of the Whangawehi stream, the estuary and the mahinga kai beds outside the river mouth.
- The group became a catalyst towards raising awareness among all Whangawehi land users of the impact of their activities upon its water quality.
Why a Whangawehi Catchment Group?
- The Whangawehi catchment management group was born in 2011 when the consultation process undertaken in relation to the resource consent applications for the waste water treatment plant identified deep concerns from the local community. The majority of these concerns involved the potential effects the scheme could have in regards to the cultural, historical, recreational and ecological values of the Whangawehi catchment.
- At the same time, the different parties involved also identified a shared desire to create a better management of the natural, physical, cultural and spiritual resources of the catchment as a whole and resolved to enter into a Memorandum of understanding.
- At the moment, the group encompasses a number of landowners in the catchment, Tangata Whenua with a strong agency support (Wairoa District Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council and Department of Conservation).
A community driven project formalised under a Memorandum of Understanding
- A Memorandum of Understanding between the Wairoa District Council, the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Tangata Whenua of Mahia, represented by Kaiuku Marare Trustees, Tuahuru Marae Trustees, Ruawharo Marae Trustees, Mahanga Marae Trustees, Mahia Maori Committee and most landowners in the Catchment was signed in July 2011.
- This document outlines the importance Tangata Whenua places on the Waste water treatment scheme and the wish for the parties to engage in a respectful, meaningful, balanced and mutually beneficial decision making process.
- The MoU identifies that the Wairoa District Council and the Hawkes bay Regional Council will consult with Tangata Whenua and landowners for the development of a Catchment Management Plan.
- On the 16th of February 2013, Grandy Lake Forest, Department of Conservation and Pat & Sue Obrien have signed the MoU and formalised their wish to join the group.
What is a Catchment Management Plan?
- A catchment management plan (CMP) is a document encompassing all the information available on the catchment relating mainly to land use and water quality and a range of actions in order to improve water quality and protect endangered habitats.
- The core objective of the document as defined at the September 2011 Hui is to :
“maintain or improve the different cultural, ecological, recreational and economical values of the Whangawehi catchment identified by the community, in short, maintain or improve a healthy Awa”
- The development of a CMP is seen as an opportunity to involve the whole of the community and provide extra knowledge, education, and funding. It is also clear to all that both the landowners and Tangata Whenua must be willing to fully participate if concrete management actions are to occur on the ground.
- A Catchment Management Plan (stage one) has been commissioned by the group and released in July 2012. This document which is an inventory is available to the public and will be further developed into an Implementation Plan in the year 2013.
Milestones achieved so far:
- April 2011: 9 sites have been chosen in order to monitor stream flow, water quality and stream ecology as part of Hawkes Bay Regional Council water monitoring programme “Snap Shot”. These sites are now monitored on a monthly basis to produce a robust bench mark data and identify issues and threats in the long term.
- July 2011: Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Wairoa District Council, the Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Tangata Whenua of Mahia, represented by Kaiuku Marare Trustees, Tuahuru Marae Trustees, Ruawharo Marae Trustees, Mahanga Marae Trustees, Mahia Maori Committe and Landowners in the Catchment.
- September 2011: A Hui was held at the Tuahuru marae in order to progress the development of the Whangawehi Catchment Management Plan (Stage 1) and to identify the values associated with the Whangawehi Catchment.
- November 2012:
– The group became a legal entity and is now “The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group Incorporated”. The Incorporated society will be soon GST registered. This new status gives more accountability and credibility when applying for funding and will allow tax advantages.
-Appointment of a Catchment Administrator for 12 months, Nic Caviale, whose tasks will be to develop an implementation plan and look for funding.
- December 2012:
– First applications made in order to secure funding for the project
– First visit of a potential funder, Doug Jones from Te Wai Maori Trust (Wellington based organisation)
- 2013- Application for funding and implementation of the catchment management plan
- February 2013: Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by Grandy Lake Forest, Department of Conservation and Pat and Sue O’Brien
- March 2013 – Development of a school programme involving the community in the transfer of local knowledge
- July 2013- Blessing of the Whangawehi Stream by Kaumatua Peter Nielsen
- September 2013- Archaeological assessment of the lower reaches of the Whangawehi catchment completed
- November 2013 – Design of a Community Sign to be unveiled at the Whangawehi Bridge in January
- December 2013– WCMG is the Supreme Winner at the Trust Power Community Awards for the District.
- January 2014 – First annual community day at Tuahuaru Marae, unveiling of the sign and development of strong relationship with funders
- February 2014 – Beginning of the Matauranga Maori School project with substantial input from Tangata Whenua and support from a wide range of agenceis (see Education tab)
- March 2014 – Heli spraying of 6 ha of riparian margins and beginning of a significant fencing project on Taharoa Trust and Grandy Lake Forest
– Finalist in the Trust Power Community Awards held in Invercargill
- April 2014 – Beginning of our Cultural Survey and development of a blog
- May 2014 – Seminar : Mike Barton shares his journey with the “Taupo Beef”
- June 2014 – First community planting day; 50 people attended and established 5000 trees in one day!
– Finalist at the Green Ribbon Award (MFE) in Wellington.
- September 2014 – Winner of the National Award at the Pride of New Zealand Award (environmental category).
– End of our first planting programme on Taharoa /Grandy Lake Forest with 16000 native trees established.
- October 2014 – Development of a catchment scale water monitoring plan with strong support from HBRC. The WCMG is closely monitoring nutrient, E. coli and sediment levels in the different tributaries of the Whangawehi stream.
- November 2014
– Finalist for the New Zealand Rivers Award
– A catchment walk was organised as part of conservation week
– Jack and D’Magio from Te Mahia school spent four days with DOC Ranger Helen Jonas on Waikawa (Portland) Island
– Project Whenua on Maori TV showcasing work done by Whangawehi community to date
– HBRC Peter Davis setup a gauge & data logger as part of the new water monitoring programme
- December 2014– Meeting with Shane Mildenhall, from Pongaroa Station to discuss new fence line and protection of sites of significance for Tangata Whenua
– Plans in progress to begin small scale pest management programme along the Whangawehi stream with support from Taharoa Trust and Grandy Lake Forest
- January 2015
-The WCMG engaged with the Community by beeing present at the Mahia Seaside Market (4th & 11th January)
-Beginning of a small scale pest control programme targetting rats, possums, Mustelids and feral cats.
- February 2015-The WCMG engaged with the Community by beeing present at the Mahia Seaside Market (4th & 11th January). – Appointment of Oha Manuel as our Community Engagement Officer.-Beginning of a small scale pest control programme targetting rats, possums, Mustelids and feral cats.
- March 2015– Erection of a 3km fence on Pongaroa Station. Water monitoring undertaken every second month on 6 sites.
- June 2015 – Community planting day on Pongaroa Station – WCMG invited for the second time as a finalist at the Green Ribbon Awards.
- July /August 2015 – Establishment of 53 000 native trees on three properties.- Attached Minsiter’s visit at Whangawehi.
- September 2015 – Minister for the Environment Nick Smith visits the project. New Signing at Whangawehi (Okepuha, M Bowen and Pongaroa Station) MoUoctober2015. School programme : Te Mahia students install 13 Blue Penguin nesting boxes to bring back the emblematic bird.
- October 2015 – Step up in the pest control programme with the deployment of 100 traps on 4 properties.
- November 2015 – Rae TeNahu receives a medal at the Kiwi Bank New Zealander of the Year Award in Gisborne.
- December 2015 – The WCMG trials 25 wireless technology traps that could change the face of pest control in New Zealand – The WCMG launches a series of presentations and guided walks during the Christmas period.
- January 2016 – The WCMG undertakes a community engagement campaign including evening presentations, displays at local events, very successful guided walks and a mountain bike ride.
- February 2016 – Beginning of a restoration programme on Homestead farm after signing the Deed of funding with the Ministry for the Environment (Te Mana o Te Wai fund).
- March 2016 – Very successful Mountain Bike Ride organised in the catchment.
- April 2016- 5 ha of Native bush block are fenced off on Taharoa Trust. Two new landowners signed the Group’s Memorandum of Understanding : KiniKini Station and Moemotu Station have embraced the group’s vision.
- May 2016 – The WCMG has been selected for the third time as a Finalist at the Green Ribbon Award organised by the Ministry for the Environment. The group will be competing in the “caring for our water category”.
- June 2016 – Construction of a Marae type shelter along the walkway and visit of Nicola Henderson from the NZ Walking Access Commission – Nomination at the Green Ribbon Award from the Ministry for the Environment – 100 traps donated to the group by HBRC bringing the total number of traps to 250.
- July 2016 – Successful community planting days with an increasing number of volunteers.
- July, August, September 2016 – Establishment of 65 000 native trees on 3 properties.
- October 2016 – Development of an insect monitoring tool by 2 French students
- November 2016 – Hans Rook and John Cheyne came to assess and give recommendations on how to better manage our riparian margins and wetlands.
- December, January 2017 – Summer programme delivered including 6 well supported guided walks, 1 Mountain Bike Ride, displays at the Mahia Market (2) and Wairoa A&P show
- January 2017 – First meeting at the newly built whare along the walkway.
- March 2017 – Ian Tarei ( Omataroa Kiwi Project) and Morgan Cox (Kiwis for Kiwi) came to Tuahuru Marae to talk about their journey with Omataroa Kiwi restoration project
- April 2017 – Funder gathering at Tuahuru Marae and site visit afterwards. Beginning of the Okepuha restoration project (10 ha-25000 native trees)
- May 2017
- HBRC signals that water quality is improving at Whangawehi by 15% over a 7 years period (for faecal contamination). This is a significant milestone, we are the only river in Hawkes Bay inversing the trend.
- HBRC undertook a fish monitoring survey and observed a large number of young eels as well as an uncommon native fish for Hawkes Bay.
- Gerard Quinn and Will Allen ran a workshop at Kaiuku Marae looking at options for the group to become financially sustainable.
- June 2017 – The WCMG was thrilled to win the Caring four our water Award and the Supreme Award at the 2017 Green Ribbon Awards held at Parliament.
- August 2017 – Tamsin Ward and Kay Griffit came to Whangawehi to carry out an habitat/bird survey and give the group a general idea of the species of birds that could be brought back and the steps to undertake.
- September 2017 – 25 000 trees are established on 15 ha of riparian margins on Okepuha Station.
- October 2017 – Successful pest control workshop organised on Taharoa Trust
- November 2017- Several key landowners sign the WCMG Conservation Management Agreement .
- February 2018- The group has been nominated as a finalist at the Mitre 10 NZealander of the Community Awards.
- February 2018-A pair of Kaka have been spotted potentially settling on Pongaroa station. This has spurred the station on to expend its pest control programme.
- February 2018-A little blue penguin colony have inhabited a surplus nesting box built by Te Mahia students on Waikawa Island.
- March 2018-The construction of a debris dam on Taharoa farm starts which will help stabalise and rebuild the stream bed by trapping silt and preventing active erosion.
- April 2018-Whangawehi landowners gather to meet with Nicola Henderson from the New Zealand Access Commission to finalise a route for a walkway through the Whangawehi which could connect with the Kinikini DOC reserve.
- April 2018-Richard and Hannah Coops scoop up a number of awards at the East Coast section of the Balance Environmental Awards.