2022 - September

Kia ora Whanau - Report from a Trustee - Nina McGregor 


Yesterday (Monday  19 September) I took the afternoon off to meet Waka Kotahi (NZTA) with my cousins and fellow trustees. 

Our trust is responsible for two Māori land blocks in Koputaroa - Manawatu Kukutauaki 3 Section 2E5 and Manawatu Kukutauaki 3 Section 2B1. The first block of land we placed under DOC covenant nearly 20 years ago, with the purpose of restoring it back to wetlands. The second block is leased to a local farmer for grazing. 

Over the years we have undertaken spraying, pest management, installed a weir and held multiple tree plantings. However in recent years, due to DOC restructures, COVID, and our inability to easily access the land (it’s next to the railway line), canary grass has overtaken many of our native plantings.

So what does Waka Kotahi have to do with this? The Otaki to Levin (ON2L) Project is a 24 km, 4 lane highway that will run from Otaki to Levin. It will have considerable environmental impact as the road runs north to south and our rivers run east to west. Under the RMA, Waka Kotahi must redress the balance to achieve a net gain in biodiversity.

Getting stuck in the Mud...gee thanks Johnny, I didn't get to my camera fast enough when it happened to you.

Johnny and Te Kenehi who have been working on the trust for almost 30 years

They must find wetlands to replace forest, repair and enhance streams. The construction project will commence in 2025 and will cost 1.2 billion dollars.

Waka Kotahi is interested not only in our Wetlands block but part of our grazing block. 

Yesterday they confirmed that our land ticks off all the boxes for an offsetting project, which includes proximity (close to impact), ecological equivalent (similar habitats), and additionality (could only get off the ground with their help). 

The photo above is of the Koputaroa Scientific Reserve which is adjacent to 2B1. It is filled with beautiful natives - kahikatea, raupo etc.  My cousin said it feels like we’re looking at a museum. Our vision is that our land will look like this one day.

At our first meeting with Waka Kotahi earlier in the year, we were privileged to witness a white heron fly over Kererū marae. My primary school’s motto was the whakatauki - He kōtuku rerenga tahi (a white heron’s flight is seen but once.) This was our tohu.