We. Are. Kaitiaki
We are the kaitiaki for the local streams in our area, Waitakere. We work closely with the plants making sure they are happy and maintained. Sometimes we have to do rescue work and remove invasive pest plants from the site. We do cool stuff like water testing the water quality of the streams. We also monitor what birds are living in the area because they help us understand what type of condition it's in. We always love to see what invertebrates are living in the streams because we never know what we'll find. On great days we'll come across long-finned eels or Kokopu. Every year we plant thousands of native plants along the stream banks and in wetland.
Call it an intuitive response or call it what you will, the flora and fauna will always show us what their environment needs at any given time.
With any site that we are working on, we know without a doubt that we must build a relationship with that site to be given the knowledge to do what it needs to restore it. It will tell us everything we need to know to restore it when we have built a solid relationship with it. This means visiting the site regularly, just like you would when you're building and strengthening a relationship. I can tell you that at some point in the process, an opening will happen where suddenly you just "know it" and you know it really well.
Suddenly you will begin to notice the whole site and not just spectrums of it. You will notice when a tree has come down because you will sense the empty spot of where it used to stand. It will appear "out of place". You will start to notice when something new has entered the site like a bird song that wasn't there before. The tune will get your attention because it is unfamiliar. You will notice that the birds, upon entering the site, give you a remarkeable dance and fly over the top you as if to say "welcome back my friend". The smell is familiar, the plants along the path are familiar, the birds are familiar. This is the mauri of the site. It has grown and it is vibrant, bursting with life. You know each and every plant and they are vibrating. It's like a baby that you have fed and nurtured and watched it grow. You can rest easier knowing that it's going to be ok.
Of course, with any restoration there is hardship and heartache. It can be overwhelming at times but we have learned to take it one step at a time.
Who are we? We are students, we are teachers, we are mothers and fathers, we are volunteers. We are the kaitiaki for the streams.
We are looking for volunteers to assist us with stream restoration starting in March.
In return, we guarantee that you will learn about the indigenous plants of Aotearoa and what properties they hold for the environment and us. Our indigenous plants each have a mahi, a role to play for Papatūānuku and the streams that run through her veins.
We all know that the rivers and streams are not how they used to be and it's taking its toll on the biodiversity. We don't have to look back, we can look forward....but it does take a conscious effort to make a start to go forward.
Send us an email if you'd like to know more about the project.