From the river mouth to the source, from the seed to the highest branch
A small but determined group of rangatahi set out in the early hours of the morning to bike from the mouth of the Ōtaki River 18 kilometres up to the Ōtaki Forks.
The event is the first of a number of activities, which is expected to improve rangatahi engagement for Te Hono ki Raukawa. The project is titled Te Kāuru and refers to the upper canopy of a tree or the head waters of a river. It recognises the importance of the rivers and trees as expressions of knowledge and identity.
Titled Mai i te Kōawa ki te Kāuru (From the river mouth to the source) the event was held in conjunction with local sports group Raukawa ki te Tonga. Co-ordinator Tanira Cooper said this project was about getting kids to walk the land, re-connect with our waterways and get in touch with the outdoors.
The group had a very early start of 4.30am and the first session was spent around a fire at the Ōtaki river mouth and listened to Tanira talk about the night sky.
“We talked about Matariki, other relevant star constellations and how they impact the way Māori view the world in terms of food cultivation, preservation, and understanding the Māori New Year. Right throughout the day the group learnt about our history and traditions with a particular emphasis on Raukawatanga.”
The group set out and rode mostly along the stopbank on the northern side of the river. They crossed the river just north of Crystal Bend with the help of a Greater Wellington Council. They provided a tractor and trailer. Along the way there were snack breaks and Tanira taught the group a haka and highlighted interesting historical accounts.
“At the Fields Hut carpark the group walked up the track to a lookout where you could see the three waterways meeting and this was a clear illustration on Te Kāuru. I explained further this concept.”
Co-coordinator Whare Akuhata said for Te Hono ki Raukawa Te Kāuru is about giving rangatahi the opportunity to explore these possibilities.
“It’s about learning the stories of who we are, where we come from and what we stand for. In knowing these stories we can set out our hopes are for the future."
“Te Hono aim to guide iwi/hapū towards an awareness of their identity and potential through the promotion of tikanga and tino rangatiratanga. The hope is to successfully resolve the grievances of the past, promote future growth, prosperity and constitutional independence for iwi/hapū.”