Residents celebrate nature
Loving a communal backyard taonga was the underlying message as over 50 keen walkers gathered for the annual Pipiwharauroa: Hikoi for Healthy Nature, Healthy People walk around Lake Ngatu on October 18.
The event is now in its second year and is part of Conservation Week celebrations in Te Hiku.
Healthy Families Far North kaiwhakahaere Shirleyanne Brown says the pipiwharauroa [shining cuckoo] has also become a deserving symbol of the annual hikoi, which is hosted by Te Ru¯nanga o Nga¯iTakoto to mark the return of spring and the lakebed to the iwi from its settlement in 2015.
‘‘It creates an opportunity for Far North communities to connect with the natural environment and each other using the Department of Conservationmanaged walking track as a vehicle for sustaining health and wellness.
‘‘The ongoing collaboration between our partners, Nga¯iTakoto and the Department of Conservation, has been a wonderful outcome.’’
Kaumatua Kaio Awarau said the birds return to the area had marked the return of spring for as long as he could remember.
‘‘This bird has travelled from the mid Pacific, from the Kermadec Islands and from the Solomon Islands. What happens is it catches the trade winds that bring it right down the east coast of Australia and then across the Tasman Sea to Aotearoa.
‘‘So it’s a significant time for all of us to be here to celebrate the arrival of the Pipiwharauroa.’’
In addition to the track walk, members of the community were also involved in diving for kuta and creating kawakawa balm lakeside, to further build on traditional health and wellbeing practices.
Te Ru¯ nanga o Nga¯ iTakoto chief executive Rangitane Marsden says the ongoing conservation effort in and around the lake is a high priority for iwi as it moves into post-settlement phase.
‘‘Our objectives into the future are to bring and connect people back to the land, so every opportunity we have to do that is a real positive for us.
‘‘We have a major korowai conservation strategy being developed, alongside the community, because health and wellbeing is who we are as a people,’’ he says.
People walk around Lake Ngatu as part of Conservation Week celebrations in Te Hiku.