Source: Department of Conservation
Mana whenua and the Waihake community are collaborating to help Tangaroa and restore Waiheke Island’s marine environment.
Date: 05 November 2020
The Waiheke Collective took the next step in their conservation journey – The Waiheke Marine Project (WMP) – with the hui ‘Future Search’ attended by 76 people last weekend.
Lucy Tukua of Ngāti Paoa says the collaboration is about whakawhanaungatanga and building and deepening our relationships to one another and to the environment.
“Our whakataukī – ‘Waiheke ki uta, ki tai, ki tua’ – extends from the mountains to the sea and beyond. We are asking how we can be good ancestors for tomorrow; it’s about leaving a legacy for future generations”.
The WMP aims to protect and regenerate the Waiheke marine environment. Mana whenua are strongly influencing the kōrero and collaborating with the wider community, listening to and utilising the voices of all people passionate about the regeneration of the Waiheke marine environment.
The Future Search hui focused on people with diverse interests coming together to find agreed ways to protect and regenerate Waiheke’s marine environment.
“Many here have shared with me that this is the first time they’ve seen locals and experts coming together and talking under the same roof in this way,” Lucy Tukua says.
DOC Community Treaty Implementation Ranger Jeremy Robb says Treaty partnership is important to the success of the WMP and it is clear from the kōrero at the hui that Mātauranga Māori is a driving force.
“To hear kōrero from Future Search participants about the Mauri of Tangaroa and its decline over time shows that there is a lot of work to do and DOC is committed in supporting the work of our Treaty partners.”
Rangatahi, Noa Clarkin says: “The Future Search event left me feeling positively charged for the future after hearing the kōrero in the room and the diversity of voices. Our community has shown unity going forward.”
DOC Partnerships Manager Miranda O’Connell, who co-facilitated the hui with Herearoha Skipper of Ngāti Paoa, says the WMP shows the value of strategies and marine protection proposals being developed by communities themselves.
“The work being undertaken in the WMP is testament to the changes that can happen when mana whenua and communities take the lead.”
Jeremy Robb says: “The common ground we came to is that Tangaroa is struggling and needs our help. Collectively we can make a change and be advocates for Tangaroa to ensure future generations can experience a thriving Marine environment.”
Alex Rogers of the Hauraki Gulf Forum says: “Future Search shows that if we take the time to understand each other, respect each other and work in partnership, there is no limit to what we can achieve together – he waka eke noa.”
This is not the first conservation project the Waiheke Collective has tackled. Te Korowai ō Waiheke aimed to remove predators from Waiheke Island. After a successful launch, Waiheke Collective’s conservation effort moved towards the decline of its marine environment, which became The Waiheke Marine Project (WMP).
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