Kōrero and kai with partners and stakeholders

A draft proposal to revitalise the Waikanae Awa from the Mountains to the sea was shared by Iwi and community representatives at two lively hui (meetings) held next to the Awa at Otaihanga Boating Club on 19 November. Accompanied by plenty of kōrero (talking) and Kai (food), the Waikanae Ki Uta Ki Tai (WKUKT) Steering Group met with staff and leaders of partner agencies (Department of Conservation, Kapiti Coast District Council, and Greater Wellington Regional Council) and representatives of many of the restoration groups and others who enjoy the Awa.

At the two hui feedback was sought on a set of shared values, priority objectives and groups of actions, all aimed at protecting the health of the Waikanae River and its wider catchment. That work has been led by the Steering Committee comprising iwi and community representatives over the last 18 months.

Also present were representatives of the Governance Group which oversees both WKUKT and the associated Waikanae Jobs for Nature Project, which is in the first year of a 4-year programme lead by Paekakariki-based Groundtruth Limited committing $8.5 million to providing employment of 92 full time equivalents (an average of 23 employees per annum) restoring nature in the Waikanae catchment.

Members of the Waikanae community may have seen Jobs for Nature work already unfolding in the Waikanae Estuary, Hemi Matenga Historic Scenic Reserve or Paraparaumu Scenic Reserve. Riparian management and sustainable land management work is unfolding on iwi-owned and private land in the middle and upper catchment. A new training centre and nursery site was recently opened at Otaraua Park. First coordinated plant and animal pest management strategies are being developed for the whole Waikanae catchment.

The WKUKT and Waikanae Jobs for Nature programmes are aligned, with the aim of providing a long term coordinated voice and programme of action for the river. That will see engagement in key processes affecting the catchment, such as Greater Wellington’s pending whaitua (Resource Management Act freshwater plan) process, education programmes to lift the community’s understanding of issues affecting the river’s health, and coordination of community conservation efforts through a proposed WKUKT Community Forum.

The proposal and draft action plan will be shared with the wider community in the New year. You can download the proposal from this website. If you have any questions, contact us via email kiaora@waikianeawa.org.nz.

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