April 30, 2024

KMR Whenua Whānui Fund project – Tapora Land and Coast Care Group

The team behind the Tapora Land and Coast Care Group are acutely aware of the importance of their mahi to care for, and re-plant, around 800 hectares across Mānukapua – Ōkahukura, on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour.

“Our goals are to foster the manu (birds) of Mānukapua through wetland restoration, pest management, pest plant eradication, and re-planting our taonga species, education and active kaitiakitanga,” says Leane Makey.

Leane says the team behind the mahi have created a raranga organisation who whakapapa to various whanau and hapu of the Kaipara and beyond.

“We are landowners, doctors, researchers, ag and hort farmers, teachers, fishers, kaumatua, kaitiaki, and much, much more,” says Leane.

They first began working with Kaipara Moana Remediation in 2023 when they planted 22,556 native trees and grasses – with half of those provided by Trees That Count (TTC) – but Leane says they have been doing this mahi for a long time – before KMR and before the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group.

“This is an inter-generational kaupapa and the key to collaborating and problem-solving to restore the health and mauri of the Kaipara Moana is through self-determination, local determinism, and capacity. We need the support by agencies, politicians, law and lore, institutions and KMR, iwi/hapū, industry to do these things,” says Leane.

Everyone involved in the mahi, which is supported by the KMR Whenua Whānui Fund, is passionate about improving the water quality of the Kaipara Moana due to the threat of sediment pollution.

KMR Community and Hapū Engagement Advisor Griffin Hope says the Tapora project is super inspiring, involving wider community and involving intergenerational commitment.

“KMR is honoured to contribute to this project through our Whenua Whānui Fund, which supports people and projects in special places like Mānukapua. We offer advice and support to develop a sediment reduction plan, and funding to undertake the project to protect the Kaipara Moana,” he says.

Leane and a wider team of volunteers get back to the land as often as possible to chip away at restoring the area.

Kia Puawai ai ngā taonga o Mānukapua fostering the birds of Mānukapua is a project and kaupapa of the Tapora Land and Coast Care Group. Mānukapua, also known as Big Sand Island, is found on the Western side of the Tapora peninsula, which stretches out into the entrance of the Kaipara Harbour. This is Aotearoa’s largest estuarine ecosystem and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere.

Mānukapua and the Ōkahukura reserve opposite Mānukapua on the mainland holds spiritual, historical and cultural significance to Ngāti Whātua.

“This is the birthplace of Ngāti Whātua and we as mana whenua and community want to respect and value this in fostering the return and protecting the manu (birds),” says Tapora Land and Coast Care Group Chair, Earle Wright.

He hopes that by eradicating pests like stoats, rats, pigs and cats and removing invasive weeds, that they can restore and bring back habitats of native indigenous vegetation and fauna to the whenua.

“It’s all about whanaungatanga, connections, between manu, people, our repo and awa and ngāhere. That’s all we do. Re-establish those connections,” Earle says.

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