Ko Wairarapa te moana.
Wairarapa is my ocean.
Ko Maungarake te maunga.
Maungarake is my mountain.
Ko Ruamahanga te awa.
Ruamahanga is my river.
Ko Kurahaupō rāua ko Tākitimu ngā waka.
Kurahaupō and Tākitimu are my ancestral canoes.
Ko Te Poho o Tutawake rāua ko Hurunui-o-Rangi ōku marae.
Te Poho o Tutawake and Hurunui-o-Rangi are my traditional meeting places.
Ko Rangitāne rāua ko Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa ōku iwi.
Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu are my tribes.
He uri mokopuna ahau nō ngā iwi o Te Wairarapa.
I am a grandchild descended from the Wairarapa tribes.
Ko Clayton Te Rangikaiwhiria Reiri tāku ingoa.
My name is Te Rangikaiwhiria (Clayton) Reiri.
Te Rangikaiwhiria Reiri is a man on a mission – a mission to connect people with each other and people with the land. He’s returned to the Wairarapa, the land he loves, and wants to both help and heal the whenua and people.
His role as a coordinator for Community Catchment Groups (CCGs) in the Wairarapa puts him in a good place to meet the needs of both. Te Rangikaiwhiria’s role is connecting with tangata/mana whenua, to ensure that those who have a traditional role in caring for and protecting the land, play an integral role in the restorations. His role also includes linking CCGs with the expertise, experts, and resources they need to achieve their aspirations, which all have environmental and community gains at their heart.
“I see myself as a connector,” Te Rangikaiwhiria says, “bringing together the needs, visions, and voices of all the people who have a part to play in maintaining and improving our environment here in the Wairarapa. I have a passion for the whenua and a love for the people, and my service is to strengthen the relationships between the two. I want to make sure that what we’re doing now has the right impacts far into the future. Part of that planning for the future, is making sure that the stories, values, and knowledge of and about these places are shared, heard, and understood.”
He is currently meeting with CCGs while working on an iwi partnership plan. He intends this to be a solid, co-designed map which will help those working on catchment projects clearly navigate a process for a project which meets the needs of all parties – the landowners, tangata/mana whenua, and the land itself.
“Setting out on this partnership means that it’s important to get clarity across the board,” Te Rangikaiwhiria says. “The reality is that we can’t do this in little chunks all on our own, we need to all be moving forward together. So, the plan I’m working on is one that will stay relevant, even as funding, projects and people come and go.”
“Part of looking forward is looking back as well. When making a plan for a catchment or an area, it’s important to know the backstory too – what was here? Who was here? What are the stories? How is it linked to other people and places?”
How the Iwi Partnership (Engagement) Plan will translate into how things look on the ground and the hands-on work the CCGs are currently doing, will become clearer as the plan is refined, tested and validated. Te Rangikaiwhiria is working towards all parties having a clear understanding of the needs, rights, and responsibilities of all those with invested interests in environmental nature-based solutions in the land.
“True partnerships, true joint projects is what we’re wanting to create,” he says. “If we set this up properly now, and create the cohesiveness needed for real partnerships to happen, then the work that people put into their projects will be truly sustainable and transformative.”
Nō reira, ngā mihi nunui ki a koutou katoa.
Therefore, a big thank you and greetings to you all.
Te Rangikaiwhiria can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Ali Mackisack