Enhancing our environment
The Rangitaiki River in the eastern Bay of Plenty is an important place. It’s an environment with historical and cultural significance. It is also home to TrustPower’s Matahina Hydro Electric Power Scheme. “The River is many things to many people. What we endeavour to do is ensure that our activities maintain the important qualities of the River and its environment and support the traditional activities the River is known for,” says Kerry Watson, TrustPower’s Environment Manager.
TrustPower enjoys a valued relationship with the Rangitaiki Hapu Coalition who affiliates to the Ngati Awa iwi and who are hapu that have historically occupied, and continue to occupy, lands along the Rangitaiki River. One of the important cultural values associated with the Rangitaiki River is its ability to provide for the cleansing and healing of the body, mind and spirit. Kaumatua and tohunga regularly use particular places along the Rangitaiki River for karakia ceremonies.
“The Rangitaiki Hapu Coalition identified one such place alongside Te Mapou Marae which needed some work to improve the safety for kaumatua and tohunga accessing the River and also to enhance the mauri of this site of significance. So we partnered with the Rangitaiki Hapu Coalition to enable that work to occur,” says Kerry. TrustPower provided funding for the project, which saw the construction of a track and ramp down to the River’s edge below Te Mapou Marae and the planting of 5,000 native plants, to restore the native vegetation and original character of the Rangitaiki River.
Rangitaiki Hapu Coalition representative Miro Araroa says they are proud of their partnership with TrustPower. “Mauri enhancement projects such as the Te Mapou Marae restoration project reconnect members of our hapu and whanau with their ancestors.
Our iwi sincerely acknowledge TrustPower’s contribution to the preservation and restoration of the natural and cultural values that make the taonga Rangitaiki awa significant to us.”