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Hikoi A Journey Through New Life

18 October 2005

Hîkoi A Journey Through New Life

A four-day hîkoi starting this week will highlight damage to our natural environment, and show how Mâori groups and organisations are working together to restore life.

The hîkoi or travelling workshop involves visits to marae and restoration sites around Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, and South Canterbury. Entitled Hîkoi Whakakâkahu – Restoring the Mauri, the hîkoi’s name refers to “reclothing” the landscape. About 50 visitors from Northland to Southland are attending, and will view and learn from real-life examples of restoration.

Locations were selected to cover a broad range of issues, including translocating missing species, predator-proof fencing, choosing appropriate plants for the area, and the role of urban marae and other urban habitats in restoring biodiversity. There will also be information on mahinga kai cultural parks – the concept of re-establishing traditional food-gathering areas.

Most of the projects are iwi and/or community led and located at culturally significant sites. Commentators at each site will explain projects and lead discussion on relevant restoration issues. Participants will stay at several Ngâi Tahu marae.

Landcare Research was the main initiator of the hîkoi, along with the Kaupapa Taiao unit of Te Rûnanga o Ngâi Tahu. The hîkoi kaihautu or organiser, Dr Colin Meurk of Landcare Research, says there are many negative stories about the environment, such as the effects of irrigation and degradation of lakes including Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and Waiwera / Lake Forsyth, but information on restoration projects that are making a real difference is not widely available. Hîkoi organisers hope to remedy this.

The hîkoi will bring people together to share the significant body of knowledge and experience built up by people who have taken up the challenge to combat environmental crises.

“Canterbury iwi have been working with the wider community and researchers on restoration projects for more than 20 years, and there are many similar marae- and community-based restoration projects elsewhere,” Dr Meurk says.

“Whilst the hîkoi has a Mâori end-user focus and is based in Canterbury, it will be an important opportunity for networking and information-sharing between all participants. It will be a chance for researchers and Mâori to identify gaps in knowledge, and learn from each other through seeing different techniques in action.”

Researcher Craig Pauling (Ngâi Tahu) of Landcare Research says every rûnanga in Canterbury from Kaikoura to Waihao is undertaking some sort of significant restoration project, but groups are often unaware of what others are doing.

Mr Pauling says Mâori tend to take a very long term approach in their restoration projects.

“For example, Ngâti Mako and Ngâti Irakehu have embarked on a 500-year restoration project at Wairewa, in the hope of making it a healthy, thriving mahinga kai site. To them, that time-frame is not a problem. Hîkoi participants will see some of the work there.

“Participants will also visit the living memorial park Ôtukaikino on the northern outskirts of Christchurch – another example of a long-term restoration project. Ôtukaikino was a wai tapu site used for water burials, but lapsed into a willow-covered swamp. It is now a wetland reserve and local Ngai Tûâhuriri in partnership with DOC and Lamb and Hayward have established many wetland plants.

The hîkoi is the first of its kind. Organisers hope it will be repeated elsewhere in the country in future.

Hîkoi Whakakâkahu – Restoring the Mauri: Celebrating Success and Building Relationships. 19–21 October and 22 October, 2005.

Schedule of Events – Hîkoi Whakakâkahu

Day 1 - Wednesday, 19th October:
11:00 Opening Pôwhiri at Rehua Marae
13:00 Visit Matawai Park
15:00 Visit Ôtukaikino Memorial Wetland
16:30 Visit Travis Wetland (Afternoon Tea)
18:00 Return to Rehua Marae (Dinner and Accommodation)

Day 2 - Thursday, 20th October:
08:00 Visit Riccarton Bush
10:00 Visit Ihutai / Avon Heathcote Estuary (Morning Tea)
11:00 Visit Rapaki Marae and Omaru Stream Project (Mihi Whakatau)
12:00 Travel to Wairewa Marae (Powhiri/Lunch)
14:00 Visit Birdlings Flat
16:00 Visit Little River Rail Trail Site
18:00 Return to Wairewa Marae (Dinner and Accommodation)

Day 3 - Friday, 21st October:
08:30 Visit Motukarara (DoC) Native Plant Nursery (Morning Tea)
10:30 Visit Taumutu Marae and Waikekewai Restoration (Mihi Whakatau)
12:30 Visit Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Lincoln (Mihi Whakatau and Hakari/Pororporoaki)
15:30 Depart for Airport or optional South Canterbury leg

Optional Trip 3 & 4 - Friday-Saturday, 21st – 22nd October:
18:00 (Day 3) Arrive Arowhenua Marae, Temuka (Powhiri/Dinner/Accommodation)
08:30 (Day 4) Breakfast/Depart Arowhenua
09:00 Visit Opuha Nursery & Restoration works, Geraldine
11:00 Visit Otipua wetlands
12:30 Visit Waihao Marae and Te Punatarakao Wetland (Mihi Whakatau and Lunch)
15:30 Depart for Timaru Airport or Christchurch Airport


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