‘To hear the birds & see the bush is an awesome prospect,’ says Ngāti Oneone

By James Perry

The government has given an extra $52,000 to the Titirangi Restoration Project in Gisborne. The additional funding will help the continuation of the work that began in 2015 when introduced trees were removed to make way for native plants.

Albie Gibson, of Ngāti Oneone, says, “To hear the birds, see the bush and the animals that used to live here that's an awesome prospect. Ngāti Oneone are so happy with this.”

More than 75,000 native trees have been planted on Titirangi since the removal of 11 hectares of pine trees over the past four years. DoC has given Whaia Te Kahu an extra $52,000 to continue the restoration project.

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says, “It's pretty cool that we have native plants established here because they are indigenous to this place. There are a lot of weeds here which need to be controlled and Ngāti Oneone are restoring the health of the maunga with the assistance of this pūtea from Papa Atawhai.”

Gibson says, “This is an important project to Ngāti Oneone. We have to thank DoC for their support with this funding. What Ngāti Oneone are wanting to do is restore the maunga to what it was like in pre-European times.”

The funding allows Whaia Te Kahu to employ another kaitiaki to assist the local residents who have been volunteering their time on the restoration project.

Minister Sage says, “The Whaia Te Kahu team, working with Gisborne District Council and Te Papa Atawhai and a number of young kaitiaki, are helping with this restoration. This pūtea is to enable another kaitiaki to join the team and to help with this planting project.”

Gibson says every week local children come up and are surprised to learn about the birds and are also assisting with the project. The skills that they learn here will help the local region.

Titirangi is returning to its lush native past, which should see the return to the constant chatter of birds.