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by Ali Mackisack, originally published in the MidWeek on 14 July 2021

Here in the Wairarapa, we really do love our natural environment. At last count, there were about 52 groups in the Wairarapa, both rural and urban, who are working to protect and restore biodiversity in different ways across our region.

From small groups of neighbours planting up a stream, to massive collaborations with million-dollar budgets and 100-year plans, there are thousands of us out there doing the mahi, connecting our communities and working alongside each other to do our bit. And if you’re into setting traps for predators, planting trees, searching for bugs, creating wētā homes, collecting data, spotting skinks or cleaning up waterways, then you’ll find that there’s a place for you in Wairarapa’s diverse environmental community.

Providing a network to connect and support all of these groups with their wide range of interest, concerns and areas of expertise, is the focus of the Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance. WaiP2K was established to give groups and individuals from Pūkaha (Mt Bruce) at the northern tip of our region to Kawakawa (Cape Palliser) at the southern end, a chance to see what others are up to, share expertise and experiences, and to connect and co-ordinate.

So what have some of those groups in the Alliance been up to lately?

  • Sustainable Wairarapa have recently detected the presence of long-tailed bats in our region, and are working towards building up a picture of where they are and how many there might be
  • The South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group recently brought together children from the local school and adults from the wider community for a planting day in Martinborough
  • The Holdsworth Restoration Trust have been continuing their massive trapping effort, in the hope that, one day, the toutouwai Black Robin might be reintroduced
  • The Wainuioru School and Community Nursery have their new shade house ready to grow eco-sourced seedlings for their catchment
  • The Aorangi Restoration Trust is on track to plant over forty thousand native trees on farmland as part of a project to create biodiversity corridors between the Aorangi and Remutaka ranges
  • Pae tū Mōkai o Tauira in Featherston continue with their stream health monitoring in order to build up a picture of change over time

If you’re keen to get involved with any of these projects or groups, there are plenty of planting days coming up and a variety of other projects to get involved with. Find out more at www.waip2k.org.nz/groups.

However you want to be involved, there’s sure to be people, a project and a place for you in the Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance.

O'Connor's Bush Arbor Day 21 Mark's Group Photo Small

Friends of O’Conner’s Bush Arbor Day 2021