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.

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