Ōtaki kids taking action for the Mangapōuri

January 25, 2023

Ko te pae tawhiti whāia kia tata
Ko te Mangapōuri; whakamaua kia tina!
Seek out distant horizons
The Mangapōuri; we WILL cherish and retain

The 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. 

In late November last year, the kura 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. The kids then sorted the rubbish to work out where it might be coming from. 

As one kid said: “It’s not good to put rubbish in the water. Water needs to be clean so the eels can live.”

This day was apart 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," explains as 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 have also been supported by Ngā Hapū o Ōtaki and Kuruho Wereta who is a past student of the kura, worked for the Department of Conservation for a time and is very passionate about the wellbeing of our natural environment. 

Weaving in the ideas from the local community is the next step, so the they 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 wellbeing of the hapū and wider community of Ōtaki. Its crystal clear water flowed freely and the awa was known to be abundant with koura, tuna, watercress and surrounded on boths sides with natural vegetation and birdlife. All of this played a crucial role in the 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 are 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 urutakai@spc.school.nz.

If you're keen to find out more about the Mountains to Sea Wellington schools programme, find more details here.

Freshwater Manager
A powerhouse in freshwater conservation and a driving force within WBC. Always both a teacher and student, Liz leads the way for so much meaningful mahi within both education and community spaces.
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