Our environmental entity at the runanga is officially called Hokonui Runanga Kaupapa Taiao (HRKT). With about 14 staff members, we are growing rapidly and are looking for more kaimahi (staff).
This reflects the importance of the environment within Maori culture.
There is no divisive line between our environment and people; we are all one.
When our environment prospers, we prosper, and when our environment is unhealthy, we are unhealthy. There are a number of different workstreams at HRKT and not all of them can feature in a 400-word column.
Therefore, we will focus on our largest projects.
Firstly, as kaitiaki (guardians), Taiao is responsible for protecting the mauri (life force) of the local environment.
Thus, HRKT acts as a consultant and affected party on many resource consents in the Gore District.
HRKT has two biodiversity projects, one here locally in Haumari (Croydon Bush) and the Hokonui Hills, and another in the Catlins and Otewao (Forest Hill).
These projects focus largely on pest control, catching more than 300 pests last week alone.
HRKT is also heavily involved in freshwater mahi .
You can find us in the field electro-fishing for native freshwater fish, transferring baby eels over the Mataura Falls, monitoring kanakana in the Mataura Mataitai (New Zealand’s first freshwater reserve), or searching for koura (freshwater crayfish) in our wetland.
Alongside all of our mahi, we run the Kaitiaki Taiao Tauira Programme.
This is athree-year initiative for tauira (students) to experience different environmental and conservation mahi associated with the HRKT and gain qualifications while working.
This is based onthe notion that we need to reconnect the tangata to the whenua (the people to the earth).
To expand on this idea, we have created a summer programme for students.
We are looking for kaimahi (staff) to fill casual positions assisting in freshwater monitoring, data input and seed collecting.
If you would like to find out more about what weare doing, please check out our website at hokonuirunanga.org.nz
Ko ahau te Taiao
Ko te Taiao, ko ahau
I am the environment, and the environment is me.