Students and teachers of Te Kura Hato Petera Kaniera are on a journey to improve the health of the Mangapōuri Stream and they want the community to join them.
The kura on November 25 hosted a celebration and action day, joined by students and teacher from Ōtaki College.
Cleaning up the rubbish was the first of many actions. Within an hour the kids had collected more than 100 litres of rubbish from the waterway. They then sorted the rubbish to work out where it might be coming from.
As they said: “It’s not good to put rubbish in the water. Water needs to be clean so the eels can live.”
The day was part of a wider collaboration for Hato Petera Kaniera Kura that has been a growing aspiration.
“For the last three years Te Kura o Hato Petera Kaniera has been discussing ways that it can restore and retain the Mangapōuri and its surrounding vegetation,” says principal Urutakai Cooper. “In 2022, the kura was happy to have been granted PLD funding for the kura and community, which gained access to experienced and knowledgeable people to support the plan forward of restoration and retainment.
“Ben Knight of field-based STEM, Liz Gibson of Mountains to Sea Wellington and Amanda Dobson of EnviroSchools supported staff and students of the kura to put the words into action.”
The kura has also been supported by Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Kuruho Wereta, a past student of the kura who worked for the Department of Conservation for a time and is passionate about the well-being of the natural environment.
Weaving in the ideas from the local community is the next step, so it can build a long-term restoration plan for the awa as it flows through the grounds of the kura and out to the Waitohu Stream.
“The Mangapōuri was a significant resource in regards to the livelihood and well-being of the hapū and wider community of Ōtaki,” Urutakai says. “Its crystal-clear water flowed freely and the awa was known to be abundant with koura, tuna and watercress, and surrounded on boths sides with natural vegetation and birdlife.
“All of this played a crucial role in maintaining ‘the circle of life’ in an eco-system that was free from human interference.”
If you’d like to support this project the kura would like to hear from you! There’s lots of ways to contribute whether at a working bee, giving your whakaaro to the planning, or supporting with resources. Contact principal Urutakai Cooper at email@example.com