Te Papa Pa Orooro: Environmental action in water quality improvement

Winner of the Environmental action in water quality improvement award at the 2023 Whakamānawa ā Taiao – Environmental Awards.

The 2023 Whakamānawa ā Taiao Environmental Awards saw Te Papa Pa Orooro in Kawakawa take out the ‘Environmental action in water quality improvement’ award.

The three-year Department of Conservation funded wetland restoration project which began in early 2022 is spearheaded by the education and training trust Nga Tangariki O Ngati Hine with the purpose of restoring the wetland while ensuring the environmental upskilling of eight passionate kaitiaki.

Finalists in the water quality category had to show commitment to helping improve water quality and/or protect, conserve or restore biodiversity through soil conservation, erosion control and/or riparian management.

The judging panel had no problem identifying Te Papa Pa Orooro as an outstanding example of a Northland wetland restoration project. Specifically, the combination of rejuvenating a native ecosystem with the training of kaitiaki, to enable continuous care for this unique environment.

Now after a year of hard mahi, the wetland which was 90% covered in willow trees and other foreign weed species now has significantly reduced weed coverage down to 40% thanks to the massive undertaking of weed eradication.

Te Papa Pa Orooro is responsible for the employment and training of eight kaitiaki, giving them the skills to continue the ongoing mahi. The project enjoys the strong support of iwi, hapū, whanau, kura and communities and Te Reo Māori me ngā tikanga are practised in all aspects.

(Images: Wendy Bown)