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Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi children
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Caring for All in Our Place - the Whirinaki Catchment

Kaitiakitanga in Action: - An example of Integrated Catchment and Community Leadership

Visit us by Video "Whirinaki, The World's Best Kept Secret" - explore with Botanist David Bellamy (1984)

Ngati Whare Working Towards a Joint Governance Partnership with DOC

mangamate fallsmangamate
The Ngati Whare Treaty negotiations provide for joint governance with DOC over the Whirinaki Forest Park, now officially named Whirinaki - Te Pua a Tane

Pictured is the opening of the Mangamate Waterfall public camping and recreation area that the public and all citizens of the world can enjoy. Details of the upgraded facilities here

More information on our Runanga Treaty Settlement here

Watch the You Tube video of the Crown apology to Ngati Whare 5/5/2013


Species Re-introduction and Diversity Preservation

weka powhirikaka

Ngati Whare the Kura, Community, DOC and visitors welcome long lost species back into the Whirinaki Whanau on Murumurunga Marae.

Local kaitiaki from families with long traditional relationships with the forest are employed by DOC on to add richness to local species preservation programmes

The Whirinaki Ecological Management Zone (WEMZ) is a predator protected area of forest where bio diversity can flourish. Many of these and other local species also need safe corridors for protection in the wetland areas in the Whirinaki catchments.


Ngati Whare Ngahere Regeneration Project - Restoring Native Forest


The negotiated settlement provides for a joint Ngati Whare-Crown project to regenerate up to 640 hectares of licensed Whirinaki Crown Forestry land adjacent to the Whirinaki Conservation Park back to indigenous forest for all New Zealanders to enjoy. More details here

World renowned botanist David Bellamy is thrilled to be patron of the Whirinaki - Te Pua a Tane; a dinosaur forest that is one of his favourite places in this world. Details on his "Moas Ark Revisted" trip here to celebrate Whirinaki 25.

Nurturing Cultural Ecotourism and Rich Learning Opportunities for Visitors (incl web)

sanctuary kiwiH tree
Experienced local iwi guides provide interpretation and support for people wanting to explore the richness of Whirinaki and Te Urewera, on either short day trips or multi-day tramping or mountainbiking expeditions.

The Whirinaki Rainforest web portal links visitors to all local services.
Whirinaki is on the Te Urewera Rainforest Route

The multitudes from all around the world who will never physically get to Whirinaki, need not miss out: they can take a videoclip tour here

Providing Visitor Facilities

concreteinfo kioskcookhouseCommunity members took on the task of building the Ngati Whare information kiosk at the highway 38 turnoff.

We also built the cooking facilities shelter at the Mangamate waterfall public campsite

These were joint DOC - Ngati Whare runanga projects


Environmental Education and Lifelong Learning - opportunities for Schools / Groups

rec campandy explains
We continue the ancient tradition of Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi being a place of rich learning, inviting others to share in it.

Groups are formally welcomed on the Marae which is the gateway to a rich stay in Whirinaki

Local guides and facilitators are available to support groups in their learning while in here

The Recreation Camp provides a rich venue for outdoor education. Many schools use it.

Marae Restoration and Cultural Revitalisation

murumurungapaintingtamarikiOur marae Trustees have carried out restoration work on Murumurunga and Waikotikoti Marae. Their next project involves building a new wharekai at Waikotikoti so we can better manaaki and cater for our visitors.

We run community learning wananga on our marae and support our kura and Kohunga Reo in partnership, so our children today are again relearning their language and nurturing the richness of our culture in a school where their grandparents were strapped for speaking it. They are the future of our Iwi.

Our Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi kapahaka group

performpractice Perform iwi

Many of our past kura students (including those who blew away Team New Zealand and the Auckland crowds at the 2004 America's Cup) have returned to compete with our Kapahaka group in the national competitions.

These are our emerging leaders for tomorrow.



Merging our Schools to grow Te Kura Toitu o Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi

Minginui site Official visitorsOur community pro-actively drove the merge of the two existing schools in our valley to form a new special nature school which comprises our Minginui Village total immersion junior site, and our bilingual transition site at Te Whaiti.

After a awe-inspiring traditional powhiri on Waikotikoti marae, each site was re-opened by the the Minister of Maori Affairs and the Minister of Education respectively on 31 Jan 2004. This was celebrated by a large contingent of official visitors.
Details here and online video celebrating our students.


Our Kura - Pioneering Research on the Ecosystem Services Value of Rainforests

kura panaramn Nga Hua a Tane is a place based school research program using Indigenous science practices to nurture a passion for science, cross curriculum "living systems thinking" and communication skills.
See our Tuakana class and Teina class 3rd place 2011 BrightSparks awards and in 2012 Overall Best Work in Progress – Junior: Te Kura Toitu o Te Whaiti Nui a Toi with their Rainforest Climate Model. This also got the BOP Science Fair NIWA Maori Science Award, in 2012

Students at our Kura are carrying out some groundbreaking research to help show the world the value of the ecosystem services that rainforests provide to support life on earth. More details and our broad research links are shared here


river flowswater balancebuilding sensors This is starting with the water cycle which we suspect in a forest is far more important than its carbon cycle (greenhouse) effects on climate. Our results so far suggest that by cutting down rainforests we turn off big a global temperature regulator.

We are collecting data to work out the Whirinaki catchment's hour by hour water balance using our weatherstation rainfall figures, a river flow gauge we have designed for our bridges and forest sensor stations that we are building to allow us to compare the water diversion and evaporation / transpiration for different land uses, including native canopy, native ground level , exotic forest and farming.

In 2013 we secured BOPRC Hawea Vercoe memorial funding and equipment to start a Whirinaki catchment wide water quality monitoring and enhancement project

The Tipu Ake ki te Ora Organic Leadership Model

Tipu Ake


The Tipu Ake Organic Leadership Model inspired and shared by our Kura and community draws international attention from people searching for new forms of organisational leadership appropriate to a complex, interdependent, ambiguous and open world. Some eleven years after its publication it now inspires forward thinking business schools with a focus on sustainability, as well as communities seeking to grow their own vibrant future.

We encourage nature inspired design practices. View a TED Talk by Prof Ille Gebeshuber who facilitated a biomimicry retreat here in April 2013.

The Kaitiakitanga Program and Network - rooted in Whirinaki and Linking the Globe.

The Kaitiakitanga Program and Network which also embraces other Rural NZ communities sharing the Maori worldview and importantly kaitiakitanga values and responsibilities for positive action. It has grown to be a mutually supportive international network embracing business, educational, sustainability, indigenous sectors and networks.


Our connections with Whaingaroa (Raglan) and Hokianga Harbourcare gives us access to their watercare / nursery / riparian planting expertise. Pictured here is Randal Stensness on a mycorestoration workshop in US with fungi guru Paul Stamet gathering the Mycorestoration Technology that makes farm waste management, riparian planting and detoxification / purification of streams much more effective.

Read what Joe Harawira and our SWAT partners in Whakatane are pioneering: biorestoration of dioxins and more in toxic sawmill dump sites.

Broadband Rollout - Opening the world to Te Urewera Schools and Communities

web accessrepeaterbroadband

Our Kuru as part of The Tuhoe Education Authority network (TEA) has pioneered the delivery of rural broadband to all Te Urewera schools and their communities.

That opens up opportunities for our children and communities to counter our isolation , becoming world citizens that share our place via the web . Thanks to our local farmer Andrew Macdonald (a past chairman of the School Board) for hosting a repeater site on his farm (one of many across Te Urewera required to get the signals over rugged hills into our communities) . Regretably in May 2013 this became immersed in the politics of the Ultrafast Broadband Rollout to NZ schools, so we have been forced to fall back to very limited Satelite service in the meantime until this happens

We exploit this inter-connectivity for our future with our Whirinaki Interactive project of which this website is a part.

The Kokiri Centre - Growing a Healthy People and Community

kokiri Health Centre Kokiri inside

Te Runanga o Ngati Whare Trust initiated this project in partnership with health Authorities. A Minginui Village house donated by the Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi Trust was converted using local volunteer labour to provide a community Heath and wellness centre.

Every second Tuesday the Doctor from Murupara runs a clinic here

This is a venue for other health promotion and community development seminars



Minginui Community Concept Plan - facilitated by a UNITEC Architecture Team

village centreUnitec Presentation

The Village Council and other groups welcomed a group of Unitec Students to carry out a community concept planning exercise with them. They involved the community in an assessment of the village assets, including concept plans for the village central community area, upgrading of the hall, and use of the old forestry compound as an enterprise development centre including a nursery, visitor information and museum.

That also included an outline plan for the future provision of accommodation and services to support ecotourism with a strong cultural learning focus in a way that maintained the privacy and safety of residents in the village.

Healthy Housing Program

Painted House Painting

To help upgrade housing in Minginui, an emergency house maintenance programme of work carried out with Housing Corporation and others.

Our Runagate working with The Ingenuity Village Council, the Hanna Support Group and other partners have established a volunteer team to do maintenance and painting in the Village.

Te Puni Kokiri provided us with a trailer containing the basic materials and tools to allow whanau members to maintain and paint the homes of their kaumatua.


The Minginui Community - taking responsible for processing waste in the catchment

closed tiprecycling centre

Our Minginui Village Council, the Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi Trustees,and our Runanga initiated a project to close the old rubbish tip. Thanks to Environment BOP and The Whakatane District Council for their help in converting buildings in the old forestry compound to create our Recycling Centre.

This recycling centre is now managed and run by the local community for all residents and activities in the valley, as well as for visitors.


Minginui Infrastructure and Health - Water Supply Upgrade


The Minginui Village Council and The Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi Village Trust earned support thanks from The Drinking-Water Assistance Programme (DWAP) to completely replace our 1948 vintage leaky steel pipe system, tanks, pumps and bores. Local village labour was used to help install it very efficiently and well under budget.

Tests on the bore water from the aquifers under the village showed it to be of exceptionally high quality. We have access Environment Waikato procedures on Protecting Community Groundwater Sources to ensure that nothing in the valley compromises this including farm seepage, pests, or toxins will compromise this.


Minginui Mara - Our Community Gardening Project

garden produceThe Whanau Support Trust in Minginui secured funding from Te Puni Kokiri, the DHB and later the WINZ Community Max scheme to establish Minginui Mara - The Community garden in the village.

There was a lot of interest in the courses on Bio-intensive gardening run by Nathan Foote.

Small raised vegetable gardens have been established in the back yards of community kaumatua to ensure they have healthy food.

The Matekuare Papakainga Project - Helping Restore our Wetlands to Health.

Wetland panarama

The Matekuare Whanau Trust have a Papakainga Development program underway which also involves restoring a traditional wetland area as a habitat for protecting native fish, eel and other species. It will include small lot agriculture, trade and other enterprise training as well as supporting tourism and whanau housing, bringing people and livelihoods back around our Murumurunga Marae and our Kura. More details at www.tewhaiti.co.nz


Our thanks to WINZ for their Community Max scheme that allowed our young people to restore the historical Presbyterian Mission Station as an educational venue. clean and plant their papakainga land, and clear the school boundary stream.

A Native Plant nursery has been built, where in partnership with the adjacent kura, local people can concentrate on wetland and other restoration in our valley. Take a visual tour to see some of the restoration work waiting to be done in the catchment



wanangahikoikikoi land

Matekuare Whanau Learning Wananga (like that held at our kura on 5-6 Nov 2011) and hikoi over the site are open to all members of the community.

Thanks to Rapata Wiri who has generously returned the content of his 2001 PhD thesis back as a koha to our community. THE PROPHECIES OF THE GREAT CANYON OF TOI (A HISTORY OF TE WHAITI.NIJI-A-TOI IN THE WESTERN TE UREWERA MOUNTAINS OF NEW ZEALAND)

The next stage is to complete setting up the small Maori Land Block Farm School, supported by the Waiariki Institute of Technology; a practical educational model that can be replicated elsewhere. This involves getting facilities in place prior to the return of the their leased Papakainga block in 2014.

Remediating the Legacy of Past Non Sustainable Activities in our Valley.

mills operatingmillsite remediationOur Iwi and community refused to take responsibility for the long term damage and potential ill health aspects arising from state managed forestry and other activities in the catchment. We insisted that government (who ran all the state forest milling here) apply the "Polluter Pays Principle" which has resulted in the Ministry of the Environment and Environment BOP getting cabinet approval for a multi million dollar Toxin Remediation project to secure the health of the forestry compound, mill and dump sites.

We also draw attention to the "Precautionary Principle" that helps reduce the chance of future actions that may damage the environment, waterways, human or other species. That applies to poisons used for pest control as well as agricultural and forestry chemicals in our catchment , a place where many of us get our food.

We encourage use of the Mauri Model when making decisions that effect the future namely: "Will our proposed action enhance or diminish the Mauri (Life force) of us, and that of all the things around us, including our grandchildren 's grandchildren's future"



Whirinaki as a Role Model for Catchment Research - Treating Papatuanuku with Respect

landuse We support all land owners or users in the valley who respect the special nature of the Whirinaki catchment .... a Taonga. That includes forestry, farming, recreation, tourism operators, government agencies, visitors and residents.

We thank the Rewi Whanau for their foresight; protecting in perpetuity a fragile wetland area on their land containing endangered species, via the QEII Trust.

We look to win-win ways to help all operating in our valley achieve the highest possible standards of long term catchment environmental protection in the most effective manner, so that our streams and rivers remain clean to support natural wetland life and make them safe for us and all our visitors to swim in or drink.

In 2013 our kura will commence a catchment wide water guality research project, supported by BOP Regional Council. This will be suppurted by the Matekuare native nursery that will introduce new riparian planting practices all as part of the Nga Hua a Tane research program. As the Whirinaki flows into the Rangitaiki, this proactive research project will support the contribution Ngati Whare makes to the development of the greater Rangitaiki River Forum document along with other organisations.

Read Adapting to Climate change in eastern New Zealand and Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Kit and Community-owned Rural Catchment Management Guide and Nature Space, Ecological Restoration in Aotearoa

We commend the many agencies that help us enhance the Mauri of our place Whirinaki and all that dwell within it : Ministry for the Environment, Environment BOP, Whakatane District Council, Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, Land and Water Forum report , Forest Owners Association Environmental Code of Practice, Ecotourism Best Practices, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Clean Streams accord, Forest and Bird, NZ Fish and Game,




Progress, Achievement and Issues Log


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Date Details of event or action By





Our gift to you - download Free Whirinaki Matariki Wall Calendar

What Andree a sustainability writer discovered about Kaitiakitanga

Coming Easter 2010 Biomimicry Exploration - Norbert Hoeller, Auckland
David Bellamy - Moa's Ark revisited tour Whirinaki 25 4-10 Oct 09
The Maori Youth Hikoi to Bioneers Conference, San Francisco 16 Oct 08
VIDEO "Redesigning our Future" - Youth Forum with Michael Braungart

Papakainga Development - Matekuare Whanau Project underway
Minginui Community Gardening - underway thanks to Community Max
Whirinaki Ecological Technology (We-tech) Our pest control innovation

Check out our school's Energy Monitoring / Weatherstation project

Our drama production, kapakaka and other creative initiatives

Ngati Whare Iwi Treaty Settlement signed, incl partnership with DOC
WEMZ - The Whirinaki Ecological Restoration Zone - a project with DOC
DOC partnerships information kiosk, Mangamate, Sanctuary(proposed)
Take a photo tour through our valley see restoration work needed
Ready to start - our Whirinaki Centre, Nursery and Recycling Projects
Our project to upgrade our water supply in Minginui Mar 07

Thanks TPK for facilitating Govt support for Minginui initiatives
Our network's submission to govt on Rural Community Opportunities

Toxin Bioremediation
Project started in Whakatane May 09
Celebrate what our friends at Hokianga Harbourcare are doing
Our Network's Mycorestoration Research Project - Fungi and mushroom

Our Lopez friends help Raglan with an affordable housing project

Thanks MfE for a big toxin cleanup on our millsites - July 07
Blocked - our Community Digital Strategy - Whirinaki Interactive 12/06
Prince Andrew adopts our Kiwi, Princess Beatrice on Mokoia Is Mar 07
Our network on the Kiwi Youth Voice learning journey to US. Mar 07

Our network at Youth Voice Digital Earth Summit on Sustainbility Aug 06
We welcomed Hunter Lovins 7-9 July 06, VIDEO view NZ tour resources
Thanks Waikato University for help with broadband 05
Thanks Housing Corp, house painting and marae restoration teams
Go Tramping in Whirinaki. See Kaka, Kiwi, Weka, Robin, Blueduck
Report Living Organisation workshops. Tipu Ake presented worldwide 05
Report Hikoi to Indigenous Knowledges Conf , Well, NZ. June 05
Thanks to UNITEC Architecture Students for help with town plans 04
Report on Sustainable Resources Conf, Colorado 04
Report on PMI Global Forum, Los Angeles Tipu Ake paper 04
Report on Sharing Indigenous Wisdom Conf, Wisconsin, June 04
Int and local visitors attend Tipu Ake Retreat March 04 See report
MPs Horomia and Mallard open our new merged area school Jan 04
Trip to Whaingaroa Env Gp Raglan, Jan04 learnings, VIDEO view



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