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Maori trust establish agreement with MoC + Nga Whenua Rahui

Owhaoko A East and A1B (Owhaoko A) trustees were pleased to welcome the Minister for Conservation, Eugenie Sage, and Ngā Whenua Rāhui representatives on Nukuhau Marae in Taupō today.

Owhaoko A is 6,958 hectares of mountainous land located between the Kaimanawa and Kaweka Forests, privately owned by the Maori trust. It’s now protected under the kawenata (covenant) acknowledged today. It’s a significant step to protect bio diversity and threatened species in the Central North Island.

Arapiu Seymour, chair of the Trust says this kawenata represents many of the shared values between the Owhaoko whanau and Nga Whenua Rahui.

“As kaitiaki, the Trust works for the benefit of future generations, leaving the land better than when it came to us. Sustainability is paramount, and is deeply embedded in every decision we make.

“The type of activities we’re planning to undertake with Ngā Whenua Rāhui – such as pest trapping, track management, and protection of rare species – have always been part of our long-term planning. But the kawenata will enable us to do this quicker, and on a much larger scale.

“The collaboration with the Department of Conservation, Ngā Whenua Rāhui, and Owhaoko ensures improved management of the land. It will remain a pristine, untouched part of New Zealand so native species can flourish,” says Seymour.

Doug Gartner, general manager for the Owhaoko Trust says the kawenata has also increased employment opportunities for whanau.

“In our discussions with Ngā Whenua Rāhui and the Department of Conservation, we’ve agreed to provide training in different skills to support the kawenata work on our land, like track building, looking after plants, and multi-pest management. We, on our own, couldn’t guarantee employment all-year-round. So as part of this collaboration, we’ve advertised for expressions of interest from whanau for them to work on Owhaoko and other protected lands.”

The 1990s saw the Owhaoko whenua (land) return to owner trustee management. Since then the Trust has taken a number of innovative steps to preserve the land and benefit future generations.

This includes producing pure manuka honey under the Owhaoko name – available in stores and exporting in the coming months, and offering up-market cabin accommodation only accessible by helicopter (available at the end of 2019).

For more information about the honey and cabin, visit www.owhaoko.com

For more information about Owhaoko A East and A1B, visit www.owhaokoalands.co.nz

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