Dog owners urged to be vigilant as local kiwi dies due to suspected dog attack

Dog owners urged to be vigilant as local kiwi dies due to suspected dog attack

*This pānui contains images that viewers may find offensive. View discretion is advised*

The Whakatāne Kiwi Trust is deeply saddened by the discovery of a dead kiwi, found on the field behind Ōhope Beach School last week – its injuries were consistent with a dog attack.

Whakatāne Kiwi Trust Kiwi Management Team Leader Claire Travers said the kiwi was an adult male of breeding age, which was a huge blow for the local kiwi population.

“It’s not just him we have lost but future generations of kiwi that come from him.

“It’s also really sad to think about the way this kiwi died. The harsh reality is that dog kills are not often instant, it is in a dog’s nature to violently shake the bird, causing the rib cage to fracture or break which crushes the internal organs. This then causes massive haemorrhaging where the bird drowns in its own blood. He pouri toku ngakau (my heart is sad).”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said the tribe was also heartbroken to hear about the loss.

“As stated, many times before we have an obligation as kaitiaki within the Ngāti Awa rohe to support the revitalisation of our natural habitat and species. A key component of our focus has been our relationship with the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust who work tirelessly to restore the population of Kiwi in our rohe. In recent weeks, our organisations came together to celebrate the release of two Kiwi – named Hui and Tanguru into the Mokorua Scenic Reserve.

“It’s like sending our extended whanau, out into the world, wishing them a safe and prosperous life ahead. Therefore, it’s devastating to learn about this event, so want to support the Trust’s call to action for people to do Kiwi Aversion Training with their dogs. I am sure most dog owners already empathise as animal carers themselves about our loss so we continue to support the request to those dog owners who may not be aware that these training initiatives are available.”

Nationwide, dogs pose the biggest threat to kiwi, because they can kill both young and adult kiwi, and tend to develop a taste for the bird. This can result in a single dog causing significant harm to a kiwi population.

In 1987 a single dog roamed through Waitangi Forest for six weeks and slaughtered approximately 500 kiwi. In 2021, five dead kiwi were found on a beach in Northland, all probably killed by the same dog.

Decades of work, and thousands of hours and resources every year are poured into the Whakatāne Kiwi Project. Over the decades, the efforts of volunteers and active enthusiasts have grown the local kiwi population from just eight birds in 1999, to more than 350 kiwi living in the reserves and farmland surrounding Whakatāne today.

As a community-led project, members of the Whakatāne community can be proud of this achievement, and the role that everyone has played in keeping kiwi, and other precious native wildlife, safe in the area.

Around Whakatāne and Ōhope kiwi can literally be anywhere. During the day they sleep with very little cover – underneath ferns, pampas grass, in drains or even culverts. It only takes seconds for a dog to sniff out a kiwi and inflict life-threatening injuries.

Dog owners are urged to always keep their dogs under control. To support this, the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust runs several Dog Aversion Training Sessions every year, where it only takes 10 minutes to teach a dog to keep away from kiwi and weka. Even small pet dogs can kill kiwi, so it is important that all dogs in this area are aversion trained.

The next Dog Aversion Training Session is being held on June 25th. For more info and to book your dog in see:
If you see a roaming dog, please call the District Council Animal Control as soon as possible: 07 306 0500

Ruby Red Development at Ngakauroa

Ruby Red Development at Ngakauroa

Me upoko pakaru tātau te iwi o Ngāti Awa mō te whenua te take, kai kīia tātau he iwi manawa kiore!

We, Ngāti Awa, must persevere for our land, lest our nation is said to have the heart of a rat!

A desire to ensure whenua collectively owned by Ngāti Awa, through Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and its subsidiaries, is being used in the most effective way has prompted the development of a Ruby Red Kiwifruit orchard at a farm near Te Teko.

In 2022, following a feasibility and detailed assessment, the owners of Ngakauroa Dairy Farm agreed to convert 10 hectares into a Ruby Red Kiwifruit orchard. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, through its Ngāti Awa Farms Limited company, owns the farm with partners Ihukatia Trust, Moerangi Kereua Ratahi Trust and Kiwinui Trust. Feasibility work was funded by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise through its Strategic Investment Fund.

The orchard comprises of two internal blocks on the farm, which have been called Te Waiwhero and Te Wai-o-Koroahu based on ancient names of nearby sites.

Tracey Hook, Chief Executive of Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, which manages Ngāti Awa Farm Limited, said following a tender process Southern Cross Horticulture was selected to undertake the development.

“The industry expertise across our orchard board, and within Southern Cross Horticulture means that we are well placed to mitigate any risk.  Furthermore, this development will add value to the existing land and is expected to provide higher returns than dairy.”

In 2022, kiwifruit industry licensing body, Zespri, allowed for a maximum of 10ha bid for the orchard development and the licence was granted in April of that year.

Construction on the orchard commenced with a karakia and turning of the first sod on June 20, 2022. The first plants were established at the site on December 19, 2022, and the milestone was celebrated by hapū representatives, members of the Rūnanga board, NAGHL, kaimahi and partners.

Ms Hook said construction of the orchard was almost complete with the development of a pond that would be completed in May, 2023.

Supreme Court keeps the door open for Ngāti Awa challenge against Chinese water bottling giant

Supreme Court keeps the door open for Ngāti Awa challenge against Chinese water bottling giant

In a landmark initial judgment, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Ngāti Awa’s appeal challenging proposal by Creswell New Zealand Limited (Creswell), a subsidiary of Chinese soft drinks giant Nongfu Spring, to extract 1.1 billion litres of water annually from the Awaiti Canal Aquifer in Otakiri, largely for export to Asia.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the post settlement governance entity for Ngāti Awa, hailed the recent decision as a positive step in the right direction to ensure that the iwi concerns about this proposal are heard by the highest Court in the land.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said: “Ngati Awa are delighted that the Supreme Court has granted to us leave to appeal. This provides us with a clear path to challenge all matters we are concerned with to the Supreme Court and marks significant progress for Te Runanga o Ngati Awa who have been fighting this unjust proposal to bottle and export our most precious wai.

Ngāti Awa have been involved in a long legal battle to oppose the Creswell proposal to take and export in plastic bottles the pristine spring water from Otakiri saying that it would have irrevocable and negative effects on te mauri o te wai – the spiritual life force of the water.

The Creswell proposal also included plans to develop a manufacturing plant on site in Otakiri with the capacity to produce 1,800 single use plastic bottles per minute. The expansion of the site and the creation of millions of single use plastic bottles was opposed by community and environmental groups concerned about the impact on the environment and an inability to manage the end-use of the plastic bottles which would largely have been exported.

Mr Araroa said Ngāti Awa, as kaitiaki of this rohe, has an obligation to ensure our water and what happens to it align with our cultural and environmental values.

“I believe most New Zealanders agree with this stance given the very present and clear impacts of climate change. This is about representing and protecting the long-term future prosperity of our people and our communities.”

The Court will likely hear the appeals in full towards the end of 2023.

Whakatāne Kiwi Population Continues to Thrive

Whakatāne Kiwi Population Continues to Thrive

Last week, in a small grove on White Horse Drive in Whakatāne a contingent of environmental protectors gathered to release a new kiwi into the wild.

At the release, the name of the kiwi was also revealed as Tātea – a derivative of Kaitātea, which is the name of the time of the year that she was born in according to the Ngāti Awa maramataka.

Tātea is a progeny of the prodigious male kiwi, Whiuwhiu, and was found as an egg near the side of a road near Kohi Point Reserve. The egg was uplifted on December 19 and taken to the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua.

On January 2, the egg hatched and after four months Tātea, at just a smidge under the crucial 1000-gram mark, was returned to her tūrangawaewae in the Mokorua Scenic Reserve last Wednesday.

Kiwi have been released back into the Whakatāne area for more than two decades. In 1999, eight North Island brown kiwi were unexpectedly found in the Ōhope Scenic Reserve. These eight birds were the last of the population in Whakatāne with predators killing most chicks before they could reach adulthood.

The discovery of these kiwi prompted the development of the Whakatāne Kiwi Project, a partnership between the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (then Environment Bay of Plenty) and the Department of Conservation, in conjunction with Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa. Since then, the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust and the Whakatāne District Council have also become partners in the project.

The Whakatāne Kiwi Project is dedicated to the serious effort required to re-establish a thriving kiwi population. That dedication has seen kiwi in the Whakatāne area go from the original eight birds to now over 300 with manu in all three major reserves around town including Ōhope, Mokorua, and Kōhi Point scenic. The birds have also been established on pest-free Moutohorā.

Nowadays, kiwi literally live in the backyards of Whakatāne and Ōhope. Residents and visitors to the area have the unique opportunity to walk into the bush and step into kiwi territory. It is this exceptional set of circumstances that has led to Whakatāne gaining the tile of ‘Kiwi Capital of the World’.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Reuben Araroa said one of the many rewards that flows from the Whakatāne Kiwi Project was improvement of the local biodiversity as a whole and the iwi was committed to continuing its support for this mahi.

“For Ngāti Awa, our kiwi population restoration is one of the best measures of how our local eco-systems are functioning in synergy with our regional pest eradication programs. So, we are very pleased to see the Kiwi, a taonga (treasure) to Māori, culturally and spiritually, thrive is such economic and environmentally challenging times. 

“We also acknowledge the sponsors and especially the volunteers of the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust who contribute well over 200 days of their time each year to ensure our kiwi taonga thrive. The Iwi is grateful for their continued commitment.” 

Whakatāne Kiwi Trust Chair, Wayne O’Keefe said he was grateful of the support from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and its large-scale pest eradication project, Korehāhā Whakahau, at the release. “With the mood being set with karakia and waiata, it was a very special morning. Kiwi Trust volunteers and contractors work tirelessly to ensure these taonga have the best possible chance to thrive, and we are always humbled to play our part in this amazing project. Thanks also to all project partners, and especially to mana whenua for providing such a meaningful name.”

Community Focus for Whakatāne Anzac Day

Community Focus for Whakatāne Anzac Day

Two buses will be on hand to take people to a community breakfast at Te Whare o Toroa Marae following the Anzac Dawn Service at Pōhaturoa next Tuesday (25 April 2023).

The 40-seater buses will also be available to transport people from the marae, following breakfast, to the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall for the Whakatāne District civic ceremony.

Anzac Dawn Service in Whakatāne will take place at Pōhaturoa on Tuesday and the community is invited to gather before 5.30am. The Navy, through HMNZS Matataua, will march with service academy members, former soldiers, and their families to Pōhaturoa during the service. Children from Apanui Primary School’s whānau unit, Te Whānau o Awetope, will sit at the memorial for Te Hurinui Apanui in acknowledgement of Ngāti Awa and their ancestor.

Whakatāne RSA President Victor Hape said the buses would be parked at Wharaurangi to transport people from The Strand to the marae following the dawn service.

“It is a community breakfast and, therefore, everyone is invited to Te Whare o Toroa Marae. We gather at the waharoa to be called on to the marae with a karanga. However, rather than going into the Wairaka Wharenui, we will go straight into the wharekai, or dining room, for a mihi before we share a meal together and undertake the other formalities such as roll call.

“Following breakfast, the two buses will be on hand again to transport those who wish to attend the Civic Commemoration at the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall at Rex Morpeth Park. Doors open there from 9.15am, with the service starting at 10am. Once the Civic Service is completed, the buses will be available to transport people from the Whakatāne War Memorial Centre to the Whakatāne RSA, where everyone is welcome to join the entertainment, including a community lunch.”

During this time, members of HMNZS Matataua will attend the Whakatāne Riding for Disabled to support the charity organisation. HMNZS Matataua will also be involved in a golf tournament with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa on Monday, April 24.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Reuben Araroa said he was grateful to be able to partner other organisations to honour the shared history.

“It’s great to see the 100-year commemoration coming together and being appropriately supported by the Whakatāne RSA, Whakatāne District Council and New Zealand Defence Force officials leading up to the event. Pōhaturoa is a cultural taonga for Ngāti Awa so it’s important, from an iwi perspective, the significance of this is considered during the planning and delivery of the commemoration. 

“I also acknowledge Te Whare o Toroa Marae committee for making the necessary adaptations given their long history of hosting ANZAC day from the opening of every dawn service on their marae. Their continued support and leadership for the commemoration was essential for maintaining the involvement of cultural values that are important to our Māori service personnel past and present.

Whakatāne District Mayor Dr Victor Luca said he encouraged people to make an extra effort to be involved in the ANZAC commemorations. 

“While always a very important day in the calendar, ANZAC Day 2023 in our district is even more significant given we are marking the centenary of the first dawn service, at Pōhaturoa. The collaboration between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, the RSA and Council has seen the introduction of the public transport between venues, so it’s never been easier for the community to attend both dawn and Civic commemorations.

Pōhaturoa Rock, Whakatāne

100 Years on and ANZAC Back at Pōhaturoa

100 Years on and ANZAC Back at Pōhaturoa

Whakatāne RSA, Whakatāne District Council and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa are working together to turn back time for ANZAC Day this year.

One hundred years ago, Whakatāne held its first ANZAC commemorations at Pōhaturoa in the town’s central business district and this year the plan is to do same and pay homage to that part of the civic history.

Whakatāne RSA President Victor Hape said this year’s Dawn Service would be held at Pōhaturoa, however Te Whare o Toroa Marae in Wairaka would still host breakfast afterwards.

“The first records at the RSA show that we held a community ANZAC Day service in 1923 at Pōhaturoa Rock. Back in 1923 they used to have it at about 2pm. Over the years, the dawn service commemorations have moved between Pōhaturoa, to the Heads, where the wreaths were floated out into the sea, and then eventually it moved to Te Whare o Toroa Marae where it has been ever since.”

“The Dawn Service will return to Te Whare o Toroa Marae next year but when I realized that our records showed that the first one was at Pōhaturoa in 1923, we thought we needed to do something special to mark the anniversary.”

Mr Hape brought representatives from Ngāti Awa and the District Council together to help pull off the plan.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said Ngāti Awa had always supported ANZAC commemorations in Whakatāne and in other townships across the district.

“Our support is to recognise the service and sacrifices that many of our Ngāti Awa service people undertook during our past and present. More importantly the commemoration provides the opportunity for iwi to come together in a different way to reflect on such matters related to iwi whether we had served or not.

“It’s equally important our future generations recognise the importance of remembering our Iwi members who served and gave their lives for the future wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Whakatāne District Mayor Dr Victor Luca said the council was pleased to support the services at Pōhaturoa.

“I’ve attended the dawn service at Wairaka in previous years and appreciate Ngāti Hokopū and Ngāti Awa welcoming the wider community. It’s great to see so many families and young people turning out to honour those who served. I think this year’s dawn service at Pōhataroa will be very special.”

The community is asked to gather near Pōhaturoa before 5.30am with formalities to start shortly after that time, beginning with a small mihi from Ngāti Awa.

A full Dawn Service will follow including the flying of the National flags of New Zealand, Australia and Turkey, the readings of the ode and laying of the wreathes.

ANZAC breakfast, with the traditional roll call, will be held at Te Whare o Toroa Marae on Muriwai Drive following the service and buses will be available for transport.

Whakatāne District Council will also hold its traditional Civic ANZAC Day Memorial Service at the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall later in the morning.

Pōhaturoa Rock

Events focus for Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae, Not Tourism

Events focus for Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae, Not Tourism

A house built fit for Royalty or more specifically a queen, the Mataatua Wharenui will become the home for events of significance rather than focusing on a tourism visitors experience at Te Manuka Tūtahi marae.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said a decision had been made to review the operating model for Te Manuka Tūtahi marae and as a result it would cease the Mataatua Visitor Experience and no longer be providing a tourism offering for people walking in off the street or for those who are visiting the area as tourists.

Mr Araroa said after conducting a financial analysis of Te Manuka Tūtahi, it became clear that the original model was significantly challenged given how the tourism sector was performing across Aotearoa, which required the Rūnanga to adapt in a climate of rising costs and low revenue.

“As a result, a decision was made to change the focus on how people and the general public would interact with Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae. The well-known wharenui narrative was that it was built fit for a queen and this new approach will enable us to concentrate on allowing Mataatua Wharenui to be the place for events of greater significance from now on.

Mr Araroa said the Rūnanga was still working on the details of the new model, but Te Manuka Tūtahi marae would no longer be taking tourism bookings as of March 1, however, would be available to Ngāti Awa.

He said the Rūnanga was working with those who had already had bookings for later in the year to communicate the change and its impact on them.

“Our strategic development plan, Te Ara Poutama o Ngāti Awa, acknowledges the importance of Mataatua Wharenui in enhancing the mana of Ngāti Awa and uplifting its people.

“This thinking has helped galvanize the change in focus for Te Manuka Tūtahi marae and so we are also working with our iwi and other stakeholders to understand how they can support the new approach.”

Mataatua Wharenui, Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa appoints Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as new Board Chair

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa appoints Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as new Board Chair

It was a changing of the guard at Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa (TRONA) on Friday (Friday 17, 2023) with the appointment of Tūwhakairiora O’Brien as Chair and Manurere Glen as Deputy Chair.

Mr O’Brien is currently the representative for the Ngāti Awa hapū Te Pahipoto on the TRONA board, and he was also elected to the Whakatāne District Council at the last election.

Ms Glen represents the Ngāi Te Rangihouhiri II hapū on the board and is a ECE Service Manager at Te Tohu Ora o Ngāti Awa.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa said the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chair demonstrated the tribe’s leadership succession plan in action with Mr O’Brien having already served six years as Deputy Chair and nine as a board member and Ms Glen already serving 12 years on the Board and sub committees to become the first female to take a leadership position for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa.

“Succession is one of the greatest challenges organisations will face so I am proud to see the growth in leadership capability within the Rūnanga,” said Mr Araroa.

“With the election, the duo now joins a legacy of leadership and service, following in the footsteps of Te Hau Paul, Tā Hirini Moko Mead, Dr Te Kei Merito, Dr Hohepa Mason and Joe Harawira, with Pouroto Ngaropo who has served as Deputy Chairman. We acknowledge their contributions and remember those leaders who are no longer with us who left an enduring legacy of inspiration that will help guide our Rūnanga into the future.

“I want to also acknowledge the outgoing Chair Joe Harawira who led Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa during some of the most challenging years our iwi and Aotearoa has faced. He was an exceptional leader who has the ability to make people of all walks of life feel secure in times of doubt and uncertainty. We wish Joe well and we are confident he will continue to carry the mana of Ngāti Awa within his new endeavors.

The two leaders join Dr Jim Mather, who was elected as the new chairman to the tribe’s financial arm, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, at meeting last year.

Newly appointed Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Board Chair Tūwhakairiora O’Brien and Deputy Chair Manurere Glen

3rd Anniversary | Whakaari Memorial

3rd Anniversary | Whakaari Memorial

December 9 marks the third anniversary of the Whakaari tragedy in which 22 people lost their lives and many more were injured. As this day approaches, we remember with love those that were lost and pray for those that survived.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa will join with others in our community to pay tribute to the victims in remembering them at two events on December 9.

The first will be a dawn ceremony commencing at 5am at the Te Hau Tutua memorial. The second commemoration will take place at Te Mānuka Tūatahi marae at 12.30pm starting with a powhiri and light refreshments at 1pm.

At approximately 1.45 guests will be welcomed to join us in the wharenui and a minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm. This event is expected to close around 3pm. Both of these events are open to the public.

For more information, please contact Bianca Ruakere on 021 453 189.