Planting the seeds for Ngāti Korokī Kahukura whānau

By Jessica Tyson

Iwi members of Ngāti Korokī Kahukura are being called to take part in a programme that will provide them with qualifications for horticulture, landscaping and arboriculture.

The programme, He Pukenga Wai, He Oranga Tangata, has been designed by Ngāti Korokī Kahukura and the Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec).

Programme kaiwhakahaere Zane Eramiha says members of the iwi came up with the idea of the programme in 2017 to restore whenua and waterways to create and regenerate taonga across the whenua.

“The programme is targeted toward iwi members of Ngāti Koroki Kahukura in an effort to bring people home, reconnect with the whenua, reconnect with whānau and just learn the historic background of where they come from,” Eramiha says.

He says it is an issue at the moment that a lot of Māori don’t know where they belong, “so I think this is the perfect way to capture that and bring whānau home and offer employment.”

As part of the programme practical work will be done on Ngāti Korokī Kahukura whenua on their maunga Maungatautari, awa, seven restoration sites, farms and orchards.

Eramiha says they need 15 keen kaitiaki whenua to help them over the next few months.

“It’s a great opportunity for whānau to come together. A lot of our mātauranga gets lost because we don’t ask for it, so I think by having projects like this and having planting days allows whānau to actually come together and interact, ask those questions right from our kaumatua down to our pēpi.”

Eramiha says in 10 years’ time the iwi wants kaitiaki of the land to be self-sustaining.

“In 10 years’ time I want my tamariki to be out on the whenua with us. It’s begun, we’ve planted that seed, pun intended, and it can only grow from here.”