In this together
October 27, 2022 12:38 pm
Landscape projects and mana whenua kanohi ki te kanohi
It is now two years since we partnered with our first iwi-led project Korehāhā Whakahau, and over that time we have been learning about the importance of building genuine relationships with mana whenua.
While this has always been a priority for us, our partnership with the Korehāhā Whakahau project has enabled a deeper appreciation of what strong partnership really means.
The project has not only moved at a fast rate on the ground, but has also shown true leadership. By equipping kaimahi with transferable predator eradication skills to support their whānau and the whenua, they are not only protecting our taonga species but also the future generations of Ngāti Awa.
It became clear after just a year of operations that the learning and knowledge the project encompassed would be invaluable to other similar projects around the motu. The idea was then formed to create an event for all Predator Free 2050 Limited projects and their mana whenua to enable genuine and open conversations on how we can best work alongside mana whenua.
Supported by PF2050 Limited and led by Ngāti Awa and the Korehāhā Whakahau project, the Taurikura Anamata wānanga was held in September at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae in Whakatāne.
There were close to 80 attendees and speakers at the event. It was evident all who participated greatly appreciated being able to be kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) for these invaluable discussions.
The two-day event not only included presentations and discourse as well as workshops on Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), the connection between the moon, the stars, taiao and our wellbeing; and traditional dyes and paints derived from the whenua. There was also an opportunity to enjoy a hikoi through the local ngahere with Dr Rob Whitbourne, Senior Researcher at Korehāhā Whakahau. Attendees learned the rongoā (Māori medicine) properties of plants, including which were edible and the whakapapa behind them.
The wānanga was a great example of some of the Tiriti o Waitangi principles in action: Protection, Partnership and Participation. It provided the opportunity for projects and mana whenua to learn and share together in an equitable way.
The value of events like this one throughout the predator free kaupapa is clear to us and we hope to be part of similar opportunities in the future.
In addition, we are looking at other ways to assist with the preservation of indigenous knowledge and mātauranga. Recently, we have been able to provide funding from our Products to Projects initiative to support a research project led by Ngāti Awa, looking at how mātauranga Māori, coupled with the latest innovations in technology, can be applied to pest eradication. This resource will be an invaluable guide for projects across the motu.
We are also proud to have two more iwi-led projects now onboard: Pest Free Kaipara, led by Te Uri o Hau and Tū Mai Taonga, led by the Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea Trust. Both are in their early stages, but we have no doubt they too will provide further learnings and opportunities to strengthen relationships with mana whenua.
Newly appointed CEO Rob Forlong also attended the wananga:
“The Taurikura Anamata wānanga was a highlight of my first months in the job. The skill and dedication of the kaimahi was obvious throughout the wananga and they are an example to us all.
My personal highlight was seeing the ways that mātauranga Māori was front and centre in so many of our predator free projects. It was also fascinating to see how various projects were working with mana whenua. As always seems to be the case at the marae, everyone was very honest about what had worked and what had not, allowing us all to learn from the experience”.
“The manakitanga shown by Ngāti Awa was outstanding. We were all very well fed, watered and made to feel exceptionally welcome. Ngā mihi nui to the Ngāti Awa kaimahi who made the event so memorable. It was an experience I will treasure.”
Videography & Edits: Stephen Parker & Sarah Cull-Luketina
Images:Stuart Attwood photography