Coordinator: Mel McColgan
DoC Contacts: Jaz Scott (Community relations and Martin Rutledge (Freshwater)
A pilot stream-care project, the ‘Whitebait Connection Programme’, was established in July 2004 with funding from the Department of Conservation. Additional funding from the Tasman District, and Nelson City Council created a partnership initiative. Subsequently, the programme gained the support of tangata whenua ki Whakatu and was extended to provide streamside workshops incorporating traditional Maori concepts.
The current programme, renamed ‘Waimaori’’, has continued with support from DOC, both councils and Nga Whenua Rahui, (a DOC fund), and places emphasis on key principles associated with kaitiakitanga – encouraging active protection of freshwater and the natural resources connected to the stream environment.
The Co-ordinator of the Waimaori Stream-care Programme, is employed by Tiakina te Taiao –the iwi environmental agency, which represents four of the six iwi in the Whakatu (Nelson) and Motueka rohe (district).
Watch Water Guardians (A DoC - Meet the locals 4 minute clip) on the WaiMaori programme)
Communities, including schools, working together for healthy local waterways, rich in bio-diversity and natural character.
Waimaori covers all of the Nelson /Tasman region and aims to;
- Teach about whitebait (the young of up to 5 species of native NZ freshwater fish – inanga, koaro and 3 types of kokopu).
- Give people the skills and understanding to better manage their catchments.
- Promote community care and action that results in improved water quality.
Here is some of what the programme covers –
- Protection and restoration of freshwater habitats.
- Environmental science and biodiversity.
- Identification of stream life e.g. bugs (macro-invertebrates) & native fish.
- Bugs as indicators of water quality.
- Mountains to sea, holistic approach to caring for rivers and streams.
Waimaori is a highly adaptable programme that easily links to all curriculum areas encouraging inquiry style learning. A typical Waimaori streamside work-shop will take approximately 1.5 hours, karakia and introductory korero lead into a 20 minute period spent measuring clarity and searching for bug life. Bugs are identified and further tests are carried out to measure clarity, flow and pH levels of water at the selected site. There is no cost to take part in this programme and you can choose if you wish to commit for a short or long-term period.