Rāhui to Help Rejuvenate Mussels in Ōhiwa

Rāhui to Help Rejuvenate Mussels in Ōhiwa

Ngāti Awa kaitiaki have placed a rāhui on the taking of green lipped mussels from an area of Ōhiwa Harbour near the Port Ōhope boat ramp in a bid to help regenerate a newly restored mussel bed.

Mac Kingi and Charlie Bluett performed a karakia at Te Tuarae o Kanawa near the Port Ōhope Boat Ramp this Monday to enact the rāhui. Signs have been installed to inform people about the ban on taking mussels from the area.

Mr Bluett, who is also Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Customary Fisheries Officer, says the rāhui is in place to help the juvenile mussels to reach maturity.

“You can see the lines out by the buoys just off from the very end of Harbour Road. The mussels have been rejuvenated from an old traditional bed. There is one at that point, one closer to the mouth of harbour and another slightly further around on the other side.”

However, Mr Bluett says, the rāhui is part of a much bigger picture.

The work is part of an award-winning research project led by Ngāti Awa uri, Professor Kura Paul-Burke from the University of Waikato. The project was launched in 2019 by the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge with a focus to bring together mātauranga Māori and marine science to investigate pragmatic shellfish restoration action as it applies to the unique social, cultural and ecological context of Ōhiwa Harbour.

It was co-developed with hapū and iwi of Ōhiwa Harbour, including Ngāti Awa, and supported by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council as well as the seven partners of the co-management group, Ōhiwa Harbour Implementation Forum.

Mrs Paul-Burke says: “If we can provide a little time for the new mussel population to grow to adults, we may be fortunate enough for our collective grandchildren to have a naturally regenerating food basket for their children into the future. It is our hope that the temporary closure will help us achieve that.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chief Executive Reuben Araroa says: “the implementation of the cultural rāhui in Ohiwa Harbour represents our unwavering commitment as kaitiaki to safeguarding the ecological balance of our marine environments whilst preserving the intergenerational benefits of a healthy marine harbour for the whole community.

“We thank all members of our community for respecting the prohibition and look forward to sharing the success of the rāhui in the near future.”

Whakatāne to become reorua/bilingual centre

Whakatāne to become a reorua/bilingual centre

Whakatāne is becoming reorua in a partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council.

The initiative is supported by Aotearoa Reorua, which is a national movement that supports towns and cities across New Zealand to become bilingual centres. Iwi partners and Councils work together to develop a bilingual strategy for their centre to create more spaces, places, and opportunities where te reo Māori is seen, heard, and celebrated alongside the English language.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council leadership teams have been working to establish Whakatāne Reorua as another way to strengthen the cultural fabric of the town. The organisations also recognise the success of Whakatāne Reorua as a platform from which the partners’ reo Māori revitalisation efforts can grow to encompass the whole rohe (boundaries) of Ngāti Awa.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū Reuben Araroa says as treaty partners, we are working with Whakatāne District Council on this initiative to champion the revitalisation of te reo Māori so that it can be seen, heard and felt by our communities and those who visit Whakatāne from afar.

“As partners we recognise the success of Whakatāne Reorua as a platform from which the collective reo Māori revitalisation efforts can also identify and share the more subtle features of Ngāti Awatanga across our rohe (boundaries). We see this as another way to inform our communities of our past, present and future with the hope of inciting more curiosity about our unique Ngāti Awa language, culture and how it differs from other iwi across the country.

“Reorua will also outline the protocols for making decisions and confirming an agreed understanding between Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council to proactively manage any perceived and actual risks relating to the uplift of te reo Māori presence in our communities.”

Whakatāne District Council Chief Executive, Steph O’Sullivan says” “By working together on this exciting initiative, we will ensure te reo Māori, as an official language, thrives and is celebrated as an integral part of our District’s identity and future.”

The revitalisation project will involve a multi-faceted approach, with various initiatives and activities to increase te reo Māori awareness, understanding, and use within the Whakatāne District. This will include things like bilingual signage, establishing reo Māori public spaces, community language workshops and more community events and celebrations of the language.

Overall, Whakatāne Reorua will provide more opportunities for people to learn and practice te reo Māori in an inclusive and supportive environment.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council encourage all residents, community groups, businesses and organisations within the Whakatāne township to actively participate in this revitalisation effort. For more information and to become a reorua/bilingual champion, visit the Whakatāne District Council website.

Aotearoa Reorua is led by the Department of Internal Affairs with support from Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori and Te Mātāwai.

Ngāti Awa Pull Together for Matariki Whakapiri 2023

Ngāti Awa Pull Together for Matariki Whakapiri 2023

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Te Whare Wānanga a Awanuiārangi are collaborating once more to host Matariki Whakapiri at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae in Whakatāne on Thursday, July 13.

A public event for the Mataatua rohe and Whakatāne community to celebrate the Māori New Year together, the two organisations hosted the inaugural Matariki Whakapiri festival last year. As a result of positive feedback from the community and attendees, both organisations decided to establish it as an annual event.

This year the festival will follow the previous year’s schedule and start with a pōhiri and karakia followed by Kapa Haka performances from at least eight groups. Each group will perform a bracket of waiata that takes no longer than 15 minutes, which must include a song about Matariki.

In the evening, Ngāti Awa storyteller Pouroto Ngaropo will share his narratives about Matariki. Performers, including Eve Lyford, Shelley Akuhata and Maisey Rika, will then take to stage and entertain the crowd until the festival is closed with a karakia at 7pm. The festival will also include a market where people can purchase food and other items and a family-friendly activity station with bouncy castles, face painting and other entertainment.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manahautū (Chief Executive) Reuben Araroa said this year the national theme for the celebration was Matariki kainga hokia.

“Matariki kainga hokia has a goal to inspire people to return home and spend quality time with their loved ones. It also aims to capture the wairua (soul) of the event while speaking to people of all ages and backgrounds to encourage their participation with Matariki.

“For Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, this means creating a space and opportunity for this to take place where our iwi and hapori (community) can celebrate and embrace the uniqueness of Ngāti Awatanga as a way of appreciating Matariki.

“As always we are delighted to collaborate with Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi. Again this opportunity reflects our strong relationship with each other and demonstrates how we can lead initiatives to strengthen our community relationships as well. We are grateful for the support from Vaughan and the team and look forward to bringing Matariki alive at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae for all our community to experience and enjoy.”

Mr Araroa said he was also grateful for the funding support from philanthropic organisation BayTrust.

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Executive Director – Academic Vaughan Bidois said the inaugural Matariki Whakapiri was such a success.

“We enjoyed working with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa last year to create a free event for the Whakatāne community to come together to celebrate Matariki and we are looking forward to pulling together this year’s festival.

“This year, at least eight teams will perform kapa haka brackets where we can actively see and be part of cultural practices that connect us to each other and to the past. Through the market, we will be able to share kai and time with each other, and we are grateful the time that notable storyteller Pouroto Ngaropo is so willing to share his knowledge on this beautiful time of the year. It is appropriate that we come together and share these aspects as these are all part of the things that define us.”

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars that rises in midwinter and for many Māori heralds the start of the new year or te Mātahi o te Tau. The appearance of Matariki in the morning sky is a sign for people to gather, to honour the dead, celebrate the present and plan for the future.

In 2022, Matariki became an official public holiday in Aotearoa and this year it will be marked on Friday, July 14.

Ngāti Awa Waitangi Commemoration Day

Ngāti Awa Waitangi Commemoration Day

Kai te paepae tapu, ngā amorangi e waha nei I ngā tikanga a kui mā. Kai te hira rawa ngā whakamoemiti ki a koutou

Tēna te mihi maioha kia koutou, e ngā uri o Ngāti Awa. Whakapiripiri mai, ki tēnei Kaupapa nei.

On Friday June 16, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa is hosting a commemoration of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, from 9.30am to 12pm.

To mark this moment in iwi history, we invite whanau representatives of the 12 signatories, to this event. Ko wai ngā Rangatira? There will be a list containing these tohu provided using our QR Code as well as our agenda for the day.

Nau mai haere mai, ki tēnei kaupapa, hei ora I nga mōhio, I ngā pārongo o te takunetanga, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As an uri of Ngāti Awa, we would be honoured to have you join us at the event with your whānau.

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: www.WhakataneKiwi.org.nz
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