The Pukekura Trust supported by the Air New Zealand Environment Trust is working towards revitalising the Pilots Beach nature reserve.
With the assistance of Kids Restore NZ, primary and secondary school students from around the region have been working hard weeding and planting native plants for the benefit of the Little Blue Penguins in the area. A holistic approach to environmental management is providing an optimum habitat for the nesting wildlife and long-term, we seek to encourage other wildlife back on to the reserve.
In addition to the weeding and planting, the students have seen the local wildlife and learn about the kororā, (Little Blue Penguin), native plants and habitat restoration as part of the programme. Once the revegetation is well established it will represent the unique plant species mix that formerly covered the land surrounding the Otago Harbour. The project will eventually provide a living insight into the flora that was once abundant over the entire Otago Peninsula.
For Manawhenua (people of the land), Takiharuru (Pilots Beach) is a sacred and special place (wāhi tapu, wāhi tāoka). Chief Karetai, local paramount chief and signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi, lived out his final years on the headland overlooking the beach. The descendants of Karetai maintain a strong whakapapa link to this whenua (land).
|He tapa tū a ko i uta||The inland boundaries have been defined|
|He tapa tū a ko i tai||The sea coast has been defined|
|He tapa tū a Tāne||Tane is responsible for the interior|
|He tapa tū a Takaroa||Takaroa is responsible for the sea|
|He kaha ko i uta||The inland areas are important|
|He kaha ko i tai||The coastal areas are important|
|He kaha a Tāne||Tane’s influence is very strong|
|He kaha a Takaroa||Takaroa’s influence is very strong|
|Hai tapa tū a Tāne||Tane stands for the land|
|Hai tapa tū a Takaroa||Takaroa stands for the sea|
As Manawhenua the descendants of Karetai have a connection to the flora, fauna and environs of Takiharuru. This connection extends to the role of Kaitiakitaka (guardianship) for the whenua and species associated with it.
Manawhenua have special relationships with all species considered to be Tāoka (Treasured), with particular interests towards albatross, whales, sharks and of course penguins.
In the spirit of Rangatirataka (cultural leadership) this area is shared with manuhiri (visitors) as a pathway towards regenerating the land, protecting the local wildlife and providing a sustainable environment for locals, whānau (family) and mokopuna (generations to come).