Kiwi Forever conservation and cultural programme
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
Introduction‘Kiwi Forever’ an enduring legacy conservation and cultural programme was held recently in the Tongariro district.
Date: 20 April 2018
Aniwaniwa Maniapoto-Tapp (Tauhara High School) with a kiwi
Tirorangi Marae, overlooked by Mt Ruapehu, hosted 16 students from the surrounding districts, four trainee teachers from Waikato University on the conservation marae-based programme, run annually for the past 13 years.
The conservation and cultural programme is sponsored by Ngati Rangi Trust, Untouched World, Genesis Energy and DOC.
The students' journey included reflection on how they use the environment for energy and resources and how every resource use decision is connected to the land.
Genesis Environmental Coordinator Cam Speedy helped facilitate the discussion around ‘Striking the Balance’ between the needs of people and protecting the environment.
“Each of these young people have clearly taken on a personal challenge to make a difference in the world, as a result of their Kiwi Forever experience - that is hugely rewarding for us as facilitators of the programme,” he said.
Over six days students traversed: staying on a marae, learning about tikanga; seeking out special places within the ngahere (forest) and locations along the awa (rivers); building traps; checking trap lines; visiting intakes to the Tongariro Power Schemes; supporting kiwi and whio releases and reconnecting with nature.
The depth of the students’ reconnection with nature was summarised by one student’s quote during the final presentations “ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au - I am the river and the river is me”.
DOC Operations Manager Bhrent Guy acknowledged the students’ personal journey and encouraged them to share their conservation knowledge and help make a difference.
“I am confident the seeds sown with them this week will remain with them forever and in the future they will have an appreciation of a Māori perspective of the importance of their relationship with the land which will shape their own conservation views and contributions,” he said.
A recent survey of past Kiwi Forever students has confirmed the benefits of Kiwi Forever are long lasting and conservation and understanding of cultural values have been embedded within students.
Survey results commented that showed as a result of Kiwi Forever, students joined local conservation groups, helped activate changes in their own communities and sought chances to learn more to help care for their environment.
“The whole experience was incredible! It has opened so many doors for me, opened up my soul and heart to Māori cultural values and gave me experiences which I had never had before. I was able to build a whanau with the other participants, release a whio, build traps, see Genesis dams, forestry impacts, talk about the mauri of rivers, participate in trapping, monitor kiwi, speak to an audience, etc. It was all absolutely incredible,” said past student Sian Moffitt (2014).
"It seems the Kiwi Forever programme has sent out enduring ripples of knowledge and experiences and has a bigger impact than the founding members originally conceived – it's a legacy project, long may it continue", said Stacey Faire, Tongariro Community Ranger.
If you are a past Kiwi Forever student and wish to reconnect with DOC, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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