Project celebrates the Manawatu River
An $814,000 environmental project, part of a wider vision, is taking shape in Dannevirke.
Tu te Manawa was inspired by the vision of Punga Paewai and others of the Kaitoki marae on the outskirts of Dannevirke.
The group developed a beautifully landscaped area next to the marae. On it, they erected a small shelter and filled the shelter with information pertinent to the Ngati Rangiwhakaewa and Ngati Pakapaka hapu of Kaitoki marae.
Aware of the 2009 Cawthron Institute research report into the state of the Manawatu River, it was thought that if this vision of Paewai’s could in some way be replicated along the length of the river, it could become a great educational resource for the whole community to enjoy and learn about the waterway.
The Cawthron report put the Manawatu River top of a pollution measurement of 300 rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Several meetings were held with hapu and iwi, and a successful application was made to the Ministry for the Environment, which was supported by Horizons Regional Council, the Palmerston North City Council, Tararua District Council and Rangitane O Tamaki Nui a Rua.
Education is at the core of the project, which has the ultimate goal of erecting eight such educational kiosks (Whare Matauranga) at culturally significant sites.
The aim is to reconnect the community with the river and its tributaries and to encourage whanau, hapu, iwi and school pupils to become involved with monitoring activities to revive the river’s life force (mauri).
Meetings are still taking place, and the wish is for the eight kiosks to be linked by some form of narrative related directly to the river and the part it has played through history.
The project also includes extensive planting of native species at each site and along the river banks, and erecting 50km of fencing.
To find out more about the project, a presentation will be made at the monthly meeting of the Manawatu Branch of Forest & Bird at 7.30pm Tuesday, July 11 at the Palmerston North City Library, Sound and Vision area, George St.
Kaitoki Whare, part of the Kaitoke Marae on the outskirts of Dannevirke.