Tieki Te Taiao Wananga Oct & Nov 2015

Tieki Te Taiao Wananga 2015

Lock in the dates for our final two conservation and cultural mapping wananga in October and November.

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East Coast Digital Development Hui

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Hikurangi Takiwa Trust is hosting a hui 10.30am-12pm on Monday 31st August at Kariaka Pa for East Coast residents and businesses to discuss digital capability development opportunities for the whole Coast and our specific communities.

Gisborne District Council is preparing a Digital Enablement Plan (“DEP”) to submit to central government by mid-September. Community input on the DEP will start on Tuesday 25th August, Hikurangi Takiwa Trust is keen to ensure Coast communities knowledge and priorities help shape the DEP.

The Gisborne Regional Digital Strategy will build on the good work done as part of Gisborne’s Gigatown project which had significant community support. The Strategy will cover Leadership, Community, Business, Environment and will seek to address three key issues: Affordability, Accessibility and Digital Literacy.

Central government continues to send a clear message that broadband access is a priority for New Zealand. At end of March, government announced its commitment to building world leading internet speeds to more of our population. There is to be an increase in funding for three programmes:

  • Ultra Fast Broadband 2 (“UFB2”) extension: aims to roll out fibre to 80% of NZers in urban areas – funding increase of $210m;
  • Rural Broadband 2 (“RBI2”) extension: aims to provide upgraded broadband services in rural areas – funding increase of $100m;
  • Mobile ‘black spots’ (MBSF)’: aims to increase mobile services to tourist areas and priority areas on State Highways – funding of $50m.

Government is looking to invest in areas where deployment will be relatively cost-effective, where uptake can be demonstrated to be high and where broadband services are unavailable (defined as less than 5Mbps). Council, with the support of key stakeholders, has completed the first stage of a submission for improving our digital infrastructure – a Registration of Interest – Support. Stage two of the process is to complete a Digital Enablement Plan (“DEP”). The DEP will outline the benefits of the programme funding for Tairāwhiti and how we will activate uptake.

The DEP is due 12pm, 16 September. The Regional Digital Strategy will be our DEP.

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Regardless of the success or otherwise of the bid for government funding, the Digital Strategy will guide our digital future by setting some key priorities for action. It will refine the Gigatown Plan for Success.

It may be useful to think about the three capability development layers used in the Plan: Infrastructure, Services & People – what should these look like for the Coast?

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Hapū aiming for habitat protection through sustainable land use

With a national report just released showing 74 per cent of native freshwater species are threatened and the relaxing of plantation forestry rules set to cause more erosion, a hapu collective on the East Coast plans to enhance natural habitat while ensuring families based on the land can make a living.

Hapu ‘kaitieki’ on top of Tutae-a-Whata near Makarika.

Hapu ‘kaitieki’ on top of Tutae-a-Whata near Makarika.

The third Hikurangi Takiwa Trust hapu wananga of the Tieki Te Taiao o Te Takiwa project was held at Penu Pa near Makarika over the weekend.

Wananga activities included measuring water quality and stream habitat, assessing the impact of soil erosion on land use and waterways, restoring native vegetation and the looking at the environmental impacts of various land uses including farming, forestry and residential settlement.

Sharing stream survey tools and techniques in-situ of the Makatote Stream with students from Te Kura o Makarika, Te Kura o Hiruharama, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu and Te Parekereke Mokopuna o Hiruharama was the highlight on the first day facilitated by Murray Palmer, Amy-Rose Hardy and Dr Joanne Clapcott, a freshwater scientist with the Cawthron Institute in Nelson.

The Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) is a tool developed by Dr Clapcott for stream habitat assessment. It provides a straightforward way for assessors to score and areas that don’t score so well provide a clear focus for restoration efforts.

Dr Joanne Clapcott from the Cawthron Institute identifying stream inhabitants with wananga participants from Makarika and Hiruharama.

Dr Joanne Clapcott from the Cawthron Institute identifying stream inhabitants with wananga participants from Makarika and Hiruharama.

Wananga participants focused on a monitoring site in the Makatote Stream just below Penu Pa. With an RHA score of 72/100, areas for habitat improvement were readily identified as riparian shade, and adjacent and upstream erosion.

The macroinvertebrate community (stream bugs) index score for the same site was 116.4, just below the threshold for ‘Excellent – clean water’.

“This is especially good for a farm-type stream as we took samples from a range of habitats” said Mr Palmer, who has been monitoring waterways around the district for more than thirty years. “Nearly half of the animals gathered were of the sensitive orders, Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera, again a very good result.”

Matauranga a hapu was a highlight of the weekend with whakapapa expert Karen Pewhairangi facilitating a role-play with participants of local historical events involving tipuna Te Atau. Nga Kuri Paaka a Uetuhiao, Te Rangitawaea and Kirimamae and their children Rongoitekai, Rongohaere and Wi o Te Rangi.

“We orient ourselves through our shared whakapapa and stories” said project coordinator and local land owner Pia Pohatu. “Our cultural landscape helps us make sense of what is happening in today’s physical landscape and ways we can lead and support current-day landowners and decision-makers with restoration aspirations.”

Regenerating kahikatea, totara and rewarewa at Pouturu Station, Ihungia.

Regenerating kahikatea, totara and rewarewa at Pouturu Station, Ihungia.

Advancing an integrated environmental monitoring program for te rohenga o Hikurangi Takiwa was a major milestone for the Trust, that works for the six pa and associated hapu in the area between Mt Hikurangi, Waipiro Bay and Ruatoria.

“We are grateful for the expertise and participation of scientists like Murray, Joanne and Dr Ian Ruru” said Ms Pohatu.

Weta at Waingakia Station.

Weta at Waingakia Station.

The monitoring program will integrate three key water quality measuring tools – the Mauri Compass developed by Dr Ruru and endorsed by Gisborne District Council, the Rapid Habitat Assessment developed by Dr Clapcott and the Cawthron Institute, and the Macroinvertebrate Community Index endorsed by the Ministry for the Environment. A digital monitoring tool with an interactive ‘touch-smart’ and GIS mapping platform is being developed as a user interface for the monitoring data collected.

Wananga participants included a number of local land owners, farmers and young people.

“We are really looking to achieve a sustainable model of co-existence between humans and other species” said participant Manu Caddie. “As Wendell Berry says, the question we must deal with is not whether the domestic and the wild are separate or can be separated; it is how, in the human economy, their indissoluble and necessary connection can be properly maintained. What kind of plantation forestry or hill country farming is helpful to protect remaining wildlife while still enabling locals to earn a living? And where will our food and construction materials come from if we didn’t have farming or forestry?”

Amy-Rose Hardy instructing wananga participants on the process for gathering macroinvertebrate from the Makatote Stream.

Amy-Rose Hardy instructing wananga participants on the process for gathering macroinvertebrate from the Makatote Stream.

Participants spent the evenings adding sites to a growing digital database and GIS map for Hikurangi Takiwa using online services to source information that was integrated with local cultural knowledge.

“GIS is a powerful and accessible tool for recording and re-presenting matauranga (cultural knowledge) that is important to us, supports lifelong learning and our aspirations, needs and responsibilities as kaitiaki” said Ms Pohatu.

“The ability to collaboratively build and share maps supports intergenerational transmission of matauranga, improves our decision-making and better informs the initiatives we want to lead and get involved with.”

A Ngati Porou Wai Maori Hui was held at the conclusion of the wananga with presentations by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou representatives and Gisborne District Council staff.

Penu Pa is one of 30 marae that has access to Nati Waiwhai, a free internet service established by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and local ISP Gisborne.Net.

“Internet access is essential for this kind of event” said Penu Pa committee member Natasha Koia. “So we are grateful to the individuals and organisations that have made WiFi accessible to most marae on the East Coast.”

The wananga was supported by the Department of Conservation Community Conservation Partnership Fund, Gisborne District Council and the Cawthron Institute.

Collecting macroinvertebrate from the Makatote Stream.

Collecting macroinvertebrate from the Makatote Stream.

 

Wananga participants agreed on the need to develop waterway monitoring program to assess the quality of streams and rivers before, during and after plantation forest harvesting within the hapu estate.

Wananga participants agreed on the need to develop a waterway monitoring program to assess the quality of streams and rivers before, during and after plantation forest harvesting within the hapu estate.

Forestry consultation predetermined – Hapu 

Slash catchers in an East Coast stream could be removed under the proposed NES. Source: Gisborne District Council

Slash catchers in an East Coast stream could be removed under the proposed NES. Source: Gisborne District Council

Hapu representatives say MPI officials should follow the more conciliatory example of their Minister rather than taking offence at criticism of the poor process used to develop new rules for forestry.

Ministry for Primary Industries spatial, forestry and land management acting director Craig Trotter yesterday claimed MPI had taken a ‘collaborative approach’ to the the development of the proposed National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry ‘working closely with representatives from environmental non-government organisations.’

“That is complete rubbish” said Te Papatipu o Uepohatu Trust chair Tui Warmenhoven. We are the most affected region in the country and the only time we’ve seen MPI on this kaupapa was in March when they spent a couple of hours at a meeting in Ruatoria and recently in Gisborne when they presented the proposed NES.”

“It was clear at the presentation in Gisborne that MPI had not made any substantive changes based on the feedback they got in Ruatoria from East Coast hapu and iwi representatives.”

Mr Trotter also said MPI had given Gisborne District Council ‘ample time’ to have input into the NES wording.

“While GDC had a staff member on the working group, they were outnumbered by forest industry representatives for whom the NES is a license to wreak more havoc and care even less for our land and waterways” said Ms Warmenhoven, who is also a researcher studying the impacts of industry on the Waiapu river.

Ms Warmenhoven said it was clear when the NES was taken from the Ministry for the Environment and given to MPI that the focus was on reducing regulation and environmental protections.

“Just because someone was a member of the Working Group doesn’t mean they were listened to, and it was the same with the hui in Ruatoria – they used us to claim some degree of consultation and then continued with their industry-led plan to cut costs which our communities and catchments will suffer from.”

A number of regional councils have opposed the NES, especially in places like Malborough where scientific reports have shown a link between post-harvest run-off and a decline in the coastal marine environment.

At least two hapu groups within Ngati Porou are threatening to take a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal if a NES is adopted that does not address the environmental concerns outlined in the hapu and council submissions.

“We think it would have been wise for MPI officials to follow the example of Ministers Goodhew and Finlayson and not make any judgement or publicly criticise submitters while submissions are being considered” said Ms Warmenhoven. “It seems some within MPI may have already determined the outcome of the consultation process before they have considered the more than 16,000 submission received this week. That suggests this whole exercise, including the Working Group, may all have been an expensive sham.”

Ms Warmenhoven said, as part of Ngati Porou’s treaty settlement, the Crown committed to addressing the state of the land, waterways, and people of the Waiapu catchment, where much of the land is under Māori title.

“So the commitment has become a commitment for 100 years of restoration of the Waiapu catchment. How can we genuinely walk that 100-year road when we are creating a National Environmental Standard which basically throws all that acknowledgement, all that headway that we’ve made out the door?”

In a written statement, Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has said much of the land the trusts were concerned about was zoned as high risk or very high risk, under the new standard’s erosion susceptibility classification.

“For areas of very high risk, resource consent is automatically required and the council will be able to place site-specific conditions on the management of the activity. For high risk areas, stringent conditions will be imposed on foresters working without a resource consent.”

Hapu and GDC submissions both make the point that most of the land in the district is in the high risk category and will therefore be a permitted activity as a lot of problems occur on land at less than the 25 degrees threshold.

“We make the important point that it is much easier if the Consenting Authority is able to assess the specifics of each application based on the particular situation and impose conditions at that point rather than only having  recourse to the expensive option of litigation if an activity isn’t complying with whatever generic rules MPI comes up with.”

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The hapu have made their full submissions available at: www.hikurangitakiwa.nz

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Contacts:

Tui Warmenhoven, Chair, Te Papatipu o Uepohatu Trust – Tel. 021 413508 – Email: tuiaroha@gmail.com

Pia Pohatu, Trustee, Hikurangi Takiwa Trust – Email: pia@uritukuiho.org.nz

Tieki Te Taiao Wānanga #4 Programme

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Due a number of factors beyond our control (like lambing and bereavements) some last minute changes to the wānanga programme – and this is still subject to weather and a range of other factors – but it’s still looking awesome!

Organisers reserve the right to change the programme whenever we feel like it...

Organisers reserve the right to change the programme whenever we feel like it…

East Coast hapū claim Forestry NES may breach Treaty

Slash catchers in an East Coast stream could be removed under the proposed NES. Source: Gisborne District Council

Slash catchers in an East Coast stream could be removed under the proposed NES. Source: Gisborne District Council

Hapū groups with kaiteki responsibilities under the RMA covering more than 60,000 hectares of land on the East Coast are joining Gisborne District Council in opposing proposed changes to national rules for plantation forestry, and suggesting Treaty of Waitangi breaches could result if the proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) is adopted by the government.

Hikurangi Takiwa Trust representing a collective of hapū covering 30,000 hectares south of Ruatoria and Te Papatipu o Uepohatu Trust hapū representing hapū in the Ruatoria area voted earlier in the month to oppose the NES for Plantation Forestry.

“We are very pleased to see Gisborne District Council joining hapu in opposition to these proposed changes” said Uepohatu spokesperson Tui Warmenhoven. “We have been studying the effects of forestry on the Waiapu catchment for decades and the  rules as they stand are not doing enough, the NES proposes to relax those regulations even further.”

Large areas within the hapu estate are currently in plantation forestry and representatives from affected hapu participated in consultation hui held in Ruatoria and Gisborne earlier in the year. While a number of concerns related to the proposed NES were expressed to government officials, the hapu claim these concerns have not been addressed in the Draft NES that closed for submissions today.

Silt rising over five metres in a tributary to the Waiapu River, 2015

Silt rising over five metres in a tributary to the Waiapu River, 2015

“We are advising the Crown that should the NES progress and these issues not be addressed, we reserve the right to seek remedy and protect ecological taonga (treasures) and wahi tapu (culturally significant sites) through the range of legal instruments available to us as Treaty of Waitangi partners with the Crown.”

The hapu believe the proposed changes will be devastating for the district – both in terms of the life of waterways and soil conservation.

“In addition to sharing many of the concerns that Gisborne District Council submission highlights, we are also keen to ensure the right for communities to prohibit Genetically Modified Organisms in the environment is preserved. The NES proposes to remove this right and hand it over to the EPA, an organisation now run by a GE proponent.”

The hapu have made their full submissions available here.

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Contacts:

Tui Warmenhoven, Chair, Te Papatipu o Uepohatu Trust – Tel. 021 413508 – Email: tuiaroha@gmail.com

Pia PohatuTrustee, Hikurangi Takiwa Trust – Email: pia@uritukuiho.org.nz

HTT submission on NES for Plantation Forestry

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Makarika Stream, January 2015

After consulting with the hapu and agreeing by resolution at a meeting of the Trustees on 2 August, Hikurangi Takiwa Trust made a submission on the proposed National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry – a copy of our submission is available to download here.


A plain English version of the submission might summarise it as follows: 

Essentially at present the Council requires forest harvesters to have a range of systems in place to prevent debris from entering waterways (such as requiring a buffer zone around waterways so tree cutting is set back from the waterway and on slopes they have catchers to stop the stuff sliding down the hill and into streams) – and if the stuff does get into waterways then there needs to be mechanisms to catch the debris and remove it as soon as possible as the debris causes havoc to native species that live in the streams and as we know much of it can also end up on beaches.

There are also rules relating to how machinery is used and how soon areas must be replanted and whether some areas should not be replanted in pines for harvest but retired because future harvesting is likely to result in massive erosion for a couple of years after harvest, etc.

All of these rules are much stricter in Tairāwhiti than the rest of the country because of our unique geology and the way plantation forests were established after Cyclone Bola and the existing erosion problems we al know about.

Under the NES these rules would no longer apply to most of the land in the region and we’d get a much watered down version that might suit the central plateau but not here.

As we know the existing rules are still not adequately addressing the problems (the Council, industry, hapu reps and environmentalists) have been working on improving practices for a few years, and the cost to clean up the mess still created is increasing and being worn by ratepayers instead of the companies that make money from the process.

The other major concern is at present if a region wants to be GMO free then it can be (many are), the right of regions to do this is removed and given to the EPA (which has recently had a GE proponent appointed as its chair and has no Environmental Protection mandate in its purpose or responsibilities).

This is a summary of some of the main concerns, but there are a lot of technical and specific issues that are meaningful but dense. The full submission lays out the main concerns systematically with requested changes if the NES proceeds.