September 22, 2022
Our People: Green Team
Image: Whetu (left) and Tāne Henderson, the Green Team.
Growing up in Karamu near Ōtamatea, the Henderson brothers naturally lived on the Taiao of the Kaipara gathering kaimoana and being in the ngāhere.
However when Tāne Henderson moved home from Australia he noticed the Kaipara harbor had rapidly declined since his childhood.
“The sediment has taken over the pipi beds, the oysters, spots where I used to go with big oyster beds are now covered in sediment.”
Whetu Henderson has observed a large range of new invasive species moving into the harbor such as mantis shrimps, Chinese fighter crabs and carpet muscle which have grown from sediment running into the Kaipara.
The brothers were raised in a shearing background and started The Green Team working in environment protection and restoration around the rohe.
“For the last five years me and my brother Whetu have been running The Green Team and I just love it. I love restoring the land, coming back two years later and seeing the trees have grown and seeing a naked block of land that was pine slash now covered in something amazing,” Tāne said.
“What I enjoy most about this mahi is we are out with our whānau every day and it’s a good thing we are restoring the land back to its natural beauty that it once was.
“If you look at books of settlers who came up the Kaipara not being able to hear anything because the cicadas were so loud, it would be great to get back to that one day,” Whetu said.
The brothers were inspired to work on the Kaipara Moana Remediation project so their children will one day be able to enjoy a childhood similar to theirs by being able to hunt and fish off the land. They believe the opportunity to help plant and restore the land to control the sediment will change the course of the environment for the Kaipara Moana.
“It’s a food source for us living so close to the harbor and knowing there is something being done about it now, it’s good and it makes us quite proud to be a part of this project” Whetu said.
“I think this project is invaluable, not only is it restoring the awa, it is restoring the people. There’s not many employment opportunities around here so it increases employment for our rangatahi or anyone for that matter that wants to get involved in the kaupapa so they can provide for their families.”