Our Story

Who are we?

Our story

The Wairarapa Pūkaha to Kawakawa Alliance is a community-led network. It brings many different groups together to increase the health of Wairarapa ecosystems, biodiversity, water and the resilience of its communities and to respond to climate change.

It includes conservation and environmental groups farmers and mana whenua as well as representatives from DOC, the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wairarapa District Councils.

Our name recognises and includes the whole landscape, whaitua (water systems/catchments) and communities across the whole district. Pūkaha (Mt. Bruce) marks the northern boundary of Wairarapa and Kawakawa (Palliser) the southern.

Our landscape stretches from west to east: ki uta ki tai – from the Tararua Range east to the coast – and is scored by the rivers as they flow to the sea.


Who are we?

The Alliance is led by a Forum made up of people representing the participating groups, people from the broader Wairarapa community, as well as people representing the agencies.

The Forum decides the programme and direction of the Alliance. The Forum has a membership of around 20, meeting about 6 times per year.

The Alliance meets at least once a year and invites all who are connected with it. These meetings discuss the Alliance’s activities, progress and plans, and celebrate the success of its members. They will also showcase new ideas, including new science and new policy initiatives.


What do we do?

The Alliance is an open network. It brings its members together to make connections, share ideas, integrate activities and maximise activities.

It supports the establishment of new groups, and brokers assistance for them. It will help its members to tell their stories, and to operate with each other on a landscape scale.

It operates on a consensus basis, and members decide on their own activities.


Our work includes:

  • Helping to set up catchment groups and facilitate meetings
  • Building and increasing the stock of resources, knowledge and expertise for participating groups
  • Linking communities and agencies engaged in the Wairarapa such as local and central government and industry bodies
  • Providing assistance with funding applications
  • Seeking out opportunities which stem from regional and national policies and projects, including the Ruamahanga Whaitua, PF 2050, A Billion Trees and the forthcoming NPS on Biodiversity
  • Communicating the work of the Alliance and promoting the telling of narratives that connect the Wairarapa and its various communities
  • Promoting the collection and accessibility of high-quality data relevant to the work of participating groups

Our Team

The Alliance is supported by a Trust and a small executive team. (Full bios are here.)


Gill Murray – Chair

Murray McKee – Chair, Finance Committee

Tiraumaera Te Tau – Member, Finance Committee

Andrea Rutene

Todd Jenkinson

William Beetham

Chris Peterson

Executive team

Gill Murray – Chair

Esther Dijkstra – General Manager

Katie Abbott- Communications Coordinator

Ali Mackisack – Storyteller

Te Rangikaiwhiria Reiri – Catchment Communities – Regional Coordinator

Richard Parkes – Catchment Communities Advisor

Tessa Bunny – Freshwater Technician