Kōhatu celebrates planting achievements

Celebrating a milestone.

Celebrating a milestone.

A large kōhatu (stone) acknowledging the significant joint venture between Environment Canterbury and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has been installed on Department of Conservation land beside Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.Located within the takiwā of Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata, the kōhatu also celebrates the planting of over 100,000 trees, shrubs and grasses around Te Waihora as at the end of June 2013 – the first full year of the Whakaora Te Waihora progamme.Etched by Christchurch carver, Riki Manuel, the stone sits ten metres off the Rail Trail at the old Kaituna Quarry, just a 50-metre walk from the Kaituna car park, off the main road to Akaroa. It overlooks an area of new planting beside the lake.

Kōhatu in situ.

Kōhatu in situ.

A small ceremony was held at the site last week to place the commemorative kōhatu. Representatives from Environment Canterbury, Whakaora Te Waihora, Ngāi Tahu and Te Rūnanga o Koukourārata gathered to see the stone installed.

Still in its early stages, Whakaora Te Waihora is expected to take at least two generations, or around 35 years, to restore and rejuvenate the mauri and ecosystem health of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. This is in addition to more than 10 years of restoration work already undertaken by Papatipu Rūnanga, landowners, agencies and others around the lake.

After eighteen months on the job, members of the Whakaora Te Waihora planting team are enthusiastic about progress to date. The team will have planted close to 250,000 plants by the end of spring – over 70 key sites around focus catchments since they first started restoration planting in the spring of 2012.

Caption for top photograph:

From left: Riki Lewis (Ngāi Tahu), Peter Ramsden (Environment Canterbury Tangata Whenua Facilitator, Canterbury Water Management Strategy), Amanda Ward (former Project Manager, Whakaora Te Waihora), Manaia Cunningham (Environment Canterbury Strategy Advisor, Ngai Tahu), Irene Payne (Ngāi Tahu).