Tena kotou e te whanau i roto it e arohanoa a to tatou Matua i te Rangi.
Once again this was another successful release of popokotea/white head and tieke/saddleback on Urupukapuka, Motuarohia and Moturua iIslands. The powhiri to our manuhiri went off very well and included Ringi Brown, kaumatgua from the Hapu of Ngatimanuhiri and one of their Admin Kaitiaki Staff came with him. As this Hapu is one of the Hapu surrounding Tiritiri Matangi, a group of us visited them a few weeks’ ago to formally ask for their manu – a tikanga process. We had mentioned that we had gone through this process when we went to Rereahu to ask them formally, when they, (Rereahu) expressed a wish to come to Te Rawhiti to visit the islands/the home where their taonga were to be ‘living’ – they likened the programme to an “Adoption Agency” where they wished to check everything out for their taonga before actually agreeing to the translocation. Needless to say, we agreed and their spokespeople came to Te Rawhiti and were taken out to Moturua Island where their taonga were to be released and the translocation was carried out soon after.
Therefore, we invited Ngatimanuhiri to do the same, come to Te Rawhiti to suss out the islands but after hearing the arrangements from Te Rawhiti, from Fleur and Richard for the Guardians and Project Island Song, they were quite agreeable to carry on with the arrangements and stated that some of their representatives would attend the powhiri at Te Rawhiti.
The manuhiri included Northland Conservation Board members Alan Martin and Luana Pirihi, DOC Northern North Island Partnerships Director Nicky Douglas and Air NZ Environment Trustee Ruud Kleinpaste, Entomologist, Tucker Thompson Youth Voyage including Isabella Jackie’s daughter and David (Rawiri) McKenzie, Chair Kororareka Marae Society as well as many Russell community personages including Fleur and Dennis Corbett and Richard Robbins. Rawiri was also responsible for giving Project Island song its name which I translated to Te Tangi o te Ata.
I was asked why do we have to powhiri the birds, after all they are ONLY birds! I saw red at that statement! I arranged the powhiri for nga manu at the three islands as they are taonga/tamariki of Tane Mahuta, of the Ngahere, and were leaving their homeland/place where they were born, to take up residence in new surroundings in a different location. So, the words spoken by the kai-karanga reflecedt this fact. “ Welcome to this Whenua , your new home/surroundings, and pray that your new home will provide shelter, peace and comfort and a place you can breed and rear your families in days to come, welcome, welcome, welcome.” And at Moturua, I added, ‘Welcome to the whenua occupied in days gone by my Tuupuna” because that was where Kiritapu, my grandfather Mita TeTai’s sister, brought up her family which included cousin Matu’s father Uncle Henry and his sister Rewa Ida Maioha (Jackie Maioha’s mother) and Uncle Hetaraka Te Nana(cousin Maaki Howards father)
While nga mihimihi were in progress, a rainbow showed in the sky and over the marae, which was a good sign we all thought. The weather turned out beautifully, despite the dreadful weather forecast the day before, although ‘twas a wee bit windy, but warm. We were met by Adrian Walker, DOC, Rod Brown of The Shadehouse and Roger?? of DOC too, I think and Mrs Goodfellow and family. Dennis Corbett also arrived on his boat.
Adrian gave us a run- down on what and where we were to stand when the helicopter arrived. Kevin Parker, the pilot, arrived with his charges/3 boxes and carried to the release sight by Russell, Charlie Boy and BJ.
My daughter Kahurangi and I did the powhiri at Moturua. I released the first lot of manu which flew directly into the bush, the Maioha whanau released the second lot and the Goodfellow 2 or 3 mokopuna released the last box. I forgot, Isabella also had a turn at releasing. So, all nga manu flew straight out to settle into their new surroundings. There weren’t any stressed out manu, like the last time when one was reluctant to fly out of its box, and although Rana coaxed it into the tree, it did not survive after all.
So whanau, that’s my Report from Moturua. I didn’t catch up with the others to see how their releases went on the other Islands – all I know is that Winstone Peters was at Motuarohia.
We arrived back to the marae where all the workers/trainees and locals were given a powhiri and a final Thank You from the home people. We then partook of the hakari kindly prepared by Vicki, Mayron, Pete and their team.
There are a few photos taken but I’ll have to ask Anya how to put them on PC so you can see them. The trainee team will visit the 3 islands periodically to see how they are all doing.
No reira e te whanau, koia nei taku Ripoata mo nga Manu. Nga manaakitanga ki a kotou katoa.