Date Created: September 13, 2021
Te Repo o Kokohuia was once a thriving wetland and ecosystem that had long been a source of nourishment, kai, materials and rongoa Maori for local whanau in Castlecliff.
The repo, which backs onto Te Kura o Kokohuia, was traditionally part of a wider wetland system which sprawled the city, connected by streams and out to the Awa.
But over the years it has been cut off from the River, dramatically reduced in size and degraded by landfill activity and pollution.
The Kokohuia Wetland Project is an important kaupapa that aims to restore and regenerate the repo, and ultimately reconnect it with the wider wetland system and back to Te Awa Tupua.
Tanea Tangaroa is a tireless advocate for the repo. She said the repo is a tupuna, and she has been working with the local community to capture the vision for the repo and to create a plan to bring it back to health.
“It is such a strong feeling. Once you see the damage, you cannot unsee it. Our kids are right there. We are all coming together to reclaim it – this is about getting some relationships moving,” she said.
“We have held a few workshops within the community to gauge their thoughts, because working in line with Tupua Te Kawa means ensuring that our communities are part of the picture.”
People want to see action now and the immediate steps include more soil testing and water testing, putting up signage, and to consider more fencing around the wetland.
The project is a partnership between the Trust and Whanganui District Council.
A master plan is being developed for the area to improve and enhance not only the ecology and water management issues, but also connectivity, cultural and community values.