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Planting for taniwhā

Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Manawa is an iwi based in the central North Island doing incredible work in the area, including restoring 10 hectares of recently returned land into a native forest, with help from Trees That Count and Kiwibank.

Kani Rangi Park in Murupara includes the confluence of two streams and the Rangitaiki River - Ngāti Manawa’s tipuna awa. The awa is a famed habitat for eels and other native species and of the town’s namesake - the taniwha Murupara.

Since their land was returned in 2011 as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, the iwi have been working to restore the park’s native habitat and create a 10 hectare reserve to of native forest for biodiversity, cultural and recreational values. The park is named after Staff Sergeant Kani Rangitauira, a WWII veteran of the 28 Māori Battalion from Ngāti Manawa, and the restoration work has included planting a memorial totara grove to him and other veterans from the iwi.

So far, the community have planted a whopping 15,000 native trees from ongoing support from Trees That Count. This year we’re proud to have matched the project with 5,500 native trees which were funded by Kiwibank.

Most recently, the Murupara community turned out in force for the iwi’s third annual planting day at Kani-Rangi Park to plant 2,500 of the Kiwibank-funded trees. Kaumātua, kura and several agencies and members of the community came together with tūī, piwakawaka and kererū watching from the surrounding trees.

This latest planting site within the park is called the Taniwha Trails, and is the beginning of the restoration site for the Pekepeke Stream which is home to Kokotaure, the double-headed taniwha who is the guardian of the Pekepeke and Waiora Stream and the Kiorenui Whenua.

Volunteers were inspired by the previous year’s plantings which had grown significantly, and after a long day of planting, the BBQ was fired up as the tamariki sang waiata for the crowd.

Pat McManus, Vice Chairman of Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Manawa, spoke about the aspirations of the iwi, saying “we want to open up the area and mark our cultural sites and develop trails, so our people can reconnect with the land, because the kōrero of the iwi is in the land.”


About the author

Trees That Count aims to create a national movement to plant millions of native trees to mitigate climate change. We're managed by the Project Crimson Trust in partnership with the Tindall Foundation.

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