Local rangatahi will plant pohutukawa trees along the banks of Te Utuhina stream next week at the launch of the new Te Arawa Wai Warriors kaupapa.
The ceremony is being held at Ohinemutu on Wednesday 31 January starting at 4.30pm and will be hosted by Te Arawa Whānau Ora and Te Komiro o Te Utuhina.
Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective Impact manager, Jenny Kaka-Scott, said the launch is about ensuring the appropriate karakia are delivered at the beginning of the Wai Warriors journey, which will teach 75 young people what it means to be Hunga tiaki (guardians) of Rotorua lakes and waterways.
“The significance of pohutukawa is twofold,” says Mrs Kaka-Scott. “Symbolically we’re planting our kaupapa steadfastly into the ground. Environmentally the pohutukawa will nurture both the whenua and the wai. Pohutukawa give good shade to water, help to hold up river banks, curb erosion and provide sanctuary for koura, eels and other water life. It is our hope that these beautiful native trees become an enduring living koha for the hapū and whanau who have allowed us to embark from their traditional whenua and wai.
Te Komiro o te Utuhina member, Lani Kereopa, says the local group is passionate about cleaning up and restoring Te Utuhina stream.
It’s wonderful that Wai Warriors are being connected to Te Arawa waterways. Connecting the children with their local waterways should be part of the curriculum in every local school. This includes swimming in them, cleaning them, and making kaitiakitanga a natural part of their lives.”
The date for the launch was guided by Te Māramataka: the lunar calendar and a traditional Māori system that has huge significance and relevance for Hunga tiaki and the role they fulfil in caring for the whole environment.
The 31st January 2018 is in the phase of Ōturuturu: a time of reflection and spiritual introspection, good for planting and fishing and preceding a time of growth and abundance. The team look forward to their launch with much anticipation and encourage all those who are interested in being a part of this kaupapa, to join.
For more information:
- Te Arawa Wai Warriors contact Jenny Kaka-Scott on 022 422 5661
- Te Komiro o te Utuhina contact Lani Kereopa on 022 182 0805