Pae Tū Mōkai ō Tauira is a local rōpū of passionate people. Last week I had the privilege of joining them and a group of curious tamariki from South Featherston School for a morning of seed collecting and kōrerō.
Pae Tū Mōkai ō Tauira was established to promote the revitalisation and sustained kaitiakitanga of te taiao, with an emphasis on Wairarapa Moana and its surrounding natural environment. One of their current projects is the creation of a native tree nursery. They are learning (alongside our tamariki) how to painstakingly collect seeds from local, established trees, then how to process and plant them. The aim is to raise them into seedlings big enough to be planted out around our moana. Both DOC and GWRC have shown interest in using these locally grown trees for their own conservation efforts at our moana.
The kākano (seed) collection with South Featherston school focussed on three species of native tree, the kowhai, tōtara and tī kōuka, and the tamariki did a fantastic job of carefully collecting the seeds and asking lots of pātai. Did you know you can eat the berries of the female Tōtara tree? One of the tamariki assured me they taste just like pomegranate seeds! Another thing I learnt was that all parts of a kōwhai are toxic, and that it’s really important to wash your hands after popping out the lovely yellow seeds from their pods. It was awesome to hear the tamariki so enthused and wanting to share their knowledge with me.
We also talked about predators and the importance of trapping. The tamariki were thrilled with the ‘trail of death’, a path with multiple traps along it.
It was such an inspiring morning, I’m always blown away by the passion and dedication we have in this community. Both Pae Tū Mōkai ō Tauira and South Featherston School were so welcoming and enthusiastic, I can’t wait to see this project evolve and to witness our moana thrive under such generous kaitiakitanga.
Ngā mihi nui to Riki, Anne and Derek for your hospitality. Ngā mihi nui to the tamariki of South Featherston School for sharing your wonder with me.
If you would like to hear more about the work of Pae Tū Mōkai ō Tauira, you can follow them on Facebook here, find their website here, or email them here.