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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hakaraia

WE.ARE.KAITIAKI



We are the kaitiaki for the local rivers and streams in our area. We work closely with the plants making sure they are happy and maintained. Sometimes we have to do rescue work and remove invasive pest plants from the site. We do cool stuff like testing the water quality of the streams. We also monitor which birds are living in the area because they help us understand what type of condition te taiao is in. We always love to see what invertebrates are living in the streams because we never know what we'll find. Every year hundreds of native plants are planted along the streams and river banks and in wetland areas.


The flora and fauna will always show us what te taiao needs at any given time.


We must build a relationship with the whenua so that we can be shown what to do to restore it, if it needs restoring. It will reveal to us everything we need to know. Whanaungatanga is so important. It is such a dynamic space to be in when working in partnership with it. This means visiting the taiao regularly and getting to know its' 'mannerisms'.

Soon you will begin to notice the whole site and not just spectrums of it. You will notice when a tree has come down because you will sense the empty spot of where it used to stand. It will appear "out of place". You will start to notice when something new has entered the site like a bird song that wasn't there before. The tune will get your attention because it is unfamiliar. You will notice that the birds, upon entering the site, give you an astounding dance and fly over the top of you as if to say "welcome back my friend". The smell is familiar, the plants along the path are familiar, the birds are familiar. This is the mauri of the taiao. It has grown and it is vibrant, bursting with life. You know each and every plant and they are vibrating. Now, you have entered the space of kaitiakitanga.


Te Waka Rākau are about to launch their new programme 'We.Are.Kaitiaki'. We are currently engaging with local schools around the Greater Wellington Region. This may also suit tamariki who are home-schooled. We.Are.Kaitiaki offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions, ideally weekly, for a couple of hours at a time. We can tailor the programme to suit your school.


Specific activities are chosen to tell us information about the area. We combine Mātauranga Māori with science


  • Plant Identification - learn the botanical and Māori names of specific plants

  • Bird Monitoring - this tells us the mauri of the taiao and what plants are available and NOT available for birds

  • Native Flower Monitoring - knowing when plants flower tells us about the climate changes of the taiao

  • Rongoā - which plants are used for specific symptoms

  • Planting and Transplanting - for restoration of te taiao

  • And more


For further information please contact Joanne Hakaraia for more information:


Ph: 027 332 8066







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