Celebrating success at the top

Attendees stand on the top of the Maunga Huruiki for the Waimā Waitai Waiora hui.

Photo credit: Charles Royal. Attendees stand on the top of the Maunga Huruiki for the Waimā Waitai Waiora hui.

It was a day to inspire, recognise and celebrate partnerships for Waimā Waitai Waiora (WWW) and Te Kawa Waiora projects on Maunga Huruiki in June. The land, which was formerly in the hands of the crown for 50 years, was purchased by Brandon and Kiri Edwards back in 2011. Brandon and Kiri are passionate about their role and responsibility as kaitiaki of their ancestral home. 

Sitting within the Kaipara Moana catchment, Huruiki has received ongoing support from the WWW project partners, including the planting of 33,000 native seedlings, with a long-term vision to return much of the 350Ha land back to its natural state.  

The special partnership has allowed our NRC land management team to work closely with tangata whenua like the Edwards, understanding their aspirations for the whenua and allowing te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori to be expressed in the way  the restoration is undertaken. 

An ‘open day’ for landowners involved with the projects was held on the peak of the maunga offering 360-degree views of the surrounding whenua. Guest speakers Charles Royal, Rareata Makiha, Brandon Edwards and Ihi Heke, shared knowledge and wisdom of ancient natural systems which inspired and motivated all who gathered for the hui.  

Charles Royal says he hopes the Edwards’ example and enthusiasm for their work is infectious and inspires others throughout the catchment.  

“This kind of dedication and commitment, this kind of deep aroha for the whenua, this kind of humility and openness to what the whenua (and moana) can teach us is really the only way forward for all of us.” 

A big thanks to the Edwards’ whānau for sharing their amazing restoration work and aspirations for the land which will no doubt be a testament for generations to come.