Restoring our wetlands
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research is working with Waikato-Tainui to restore wetlands and clean up the country’s longest river.
When the Waikato River Authority recently gave the river a failing grade, it provided a catalyst for all of the river iwi, including Waikato-Tainui, to make a plan to restore this taonga (treasure).
For Rahui Papa, then Waikato-Tainui chairman, wetlands are important because of their benefit to the river. ‘Wetlands are the kidneys of the river and play a wonderful role in filtering out the stuff we don’t want in the main bed of the river.’
As part of the Wetland Restoration Programme, Manaaki Whenua and the Waikato Raupatu River Trust (WRRT) produced an online cultural wetland handbook, Te Reo o te Repo: The Voice of the Wetland, to showcase iwi-led wetlands work happening around Aotearoa.
Waikato-Tainui tribal member Yvonne Taura, a Manaaki Whenua kairangahau (researcher) and previously a science research advisor for the WRRT, said the articles in the handbook were written by kairangahau Māori and scientists working with iwi.
‘What we’re doing is showing how mātauranga Māori and science can work together to develop frameworks, initiatives, or projects that everyone can get involved in. It’s not just one telling the other, it’s together – they each have a role to play when it comes to the restoration of any ecosystem.’