New faces for Whaka-Ora

Two new people have recently joined the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour project.

Kathryn Bates has joined Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke to undertake this Ministry for the Environment funded 18-month role focused on restoring waterways, planting and restoration of mahinga kai in the Head of the Harbour area (Teddington, Allandale).

Kathryn has a science and mahinga kai background and has worked for several years on restoration projects on the Ōtākaro and Ōpāwaho.

She grew up in the Canterbury foothills close to the Waikirikiri (Selwyn).

“I feel really privileged to have been given this role and am loving coming to Rāpaki each day.

“I’m looking forward to working with landowners in the head of the harbour catchments, especially looking at various ways we can minimise sediment runoff entering the harbour.

“It would be amazing to see an increase in the understanding of mahinga kai and the benefits of biodiversity in Whakaraupō by allowing natural coastal processes to occur and terrestrial riparian planting along waterways becoming the norm.”

Paul Horgan also started working for Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke late last year – in the role of Natural Resources Advisor.

The role will focus on managing the environmental portfolio mahi, including supporting Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour work, and supporting the Ngāti Wheke representatives on various external bodies including various zone committees, reserve committees and the LPC Mana whenua Advisory Group.

Paul has a science and legal background and his work experience includes working with Ngāi Tahu whānui on a range of environmental projects dating back more than a decade.

“Over a period of almost 15 years working for Ngāi Tahu, it is the relationships at the flax-roots level with mana whenua that I most cherish.

“This is, to my mind, where the real people do the real work and where the biggest environmental gains are to be had.

“It has been an absolute privilege to have worked alongside the most skilful of mahinga kai practitioners such as the late Kelly Davis and Mandy Home and to have absorbed at least some of their vast knowledge about the many dimensions of kaitiakitanga.”

Paul is excited about his new mahi, and the potential to create positive change that comes with it.

“I know my new role at Ngāti Wheke is going to be a truly rewarding one, and one in which, rather than focusing on trying to prevent bad things from happening – as I have often had to do – I will get the chance to dedicate myself to making good things happen.”