Tuituia te Kahunuku is a newly formed group that seeks to rediscover and revitalise neglected green spaces around Kaitaia. This exciting community project is supported by Tiaki Taiao o Te Tai Tokerau based at the Eco Centre on Bank Street in Kaitaia and partly funded by the World Wildlife Fund - New Zealand.
The wāhine who initiated this group are identifying spaces around Kaitaia that can be ‘brought back to life’ with support from locals - schools, ECEs, individuals and businesses. Green spaces, also known as green corridors, refer to the flora, fauna, waterways and wetlands in and around Kaitaia. These are often environmentally rich habitats for a range of wildlife species and plant life.
Tuituia te Kahunuku are planning ‘place based’ wānanga and community workshops that will draw on local knowledge, stories and expertise with gatherings that observe and celebrate seasonal tohu. Spokesperson for the group, Waikarere Gregory says, “this project will involve identifying pests, identifying and clearing invasive species and replanting native trees.”
“While we have received some funding from WWF - New Zealand for tree planting, we are reaching out to our community to get involved. We endeavour to be a sustainable project in the long-term, engaging in plant identification and eco sourcing native seeds and seedlings locally. This will also include some fruiting trees and other edibles for proposed food forests. We hope that neighbourhood care groups may be established as a result of this project.”
The first event for 2024 will focus on the Te Rarawa walkway area that runs parallel to South Road. We will centre around the fruiting of the karaka tree where kōrero will highlight its significance to Māori as a valued kai for both people and birdlife. During the event, the group will explore some of the karaka trees in Kaitaia, gather karaka seeds, investigate its properties and begin processing them into traditional Māori peanuts for eating. We encourage locals to bring their stories and knowledge to share about the area and any experience they may have with our native karaka.
The overall project aims to nurture relationships between people and nature. “It’s important for us to understand the delicate balance between our collective health and wellbeing and the place where we live. As a group of mothers, creatives, and teachers we believe it is important for our whānau, tamariki and mokopuna to have access to healthy green spaces where there are resources, stories and kai to be shared”.
We invite the people of Kaitaia to join us on our hīkoi of discovery!
We’ll finish with a shared kai (bring a plate). Whānau, tamariki, kaumātua - all are welcome. Meet at the front entrance to Te Ahu Centre, Thursday 8th February, 9.30am - 12.30pm.
Keep an eye out for future events which will be posted around town and on the Tiaki Taiao page on Facebook.
Local wāhine of newly formed group, Tuituia te Kahunuku L to R:
Anna Tripp, Riria Biddle, Cassandra Biddle, Waikarere Gregory & Merryn Bowman