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Uawa/Tolaga Bay Project
Uawanui Sustainability Project
He Manawa tangata – He Oranga Tangata (Healthy environment – Healthy People)
On 6 June 2012, the day of the Transit of Venus, the Uawa/Tolga Bay community - together with the Allan Wilson Centre, which was asked to help with science advice – committed to a long term vision of restoring the Uawa River catchment and coastline. Ensuring an environment that supports the health and prosperity of its people was the imperative.
The first stage has been to consult all the different parties in the community – forestry companies, farmers on the flats, residents and businesspeople of the town, young people wanting to use the river and beach for recreation - and agreeing to a vision they could work together on over the coming decades.
On Thursday 20 March, the small but determined community took command of its future destiny by formally launching that agreed vision at Hauiti Marae. In addition to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on this day by Te Aitanga a Hauiti and the Allan Wilson Centre, was a concomitant agreement with Hauiti Incorporation, which manages Titirangi Station, including thethe historic land around Cook’s Cove – the tiny bay where Captain Cook and his men took shelter in 1769 - and Kaitawa Estuary.
The launch event was attended by Allan Wilson Centre scientists from around New Zealand and special guest, Dame Anne Salmond, who has her own restoration project in Gisborne. It also celebrated the start of work on specific local restoration projects, including the Kaitawa Estuary. This, as well as existing planting work at the school, and development of a very practical riverbank restoration guide, are early examples of projects that are part of the vision. A range of projects are planned around the river and wider catchment that will be commencing over coming months.
Some of this work will be carried out by newly trained graduates of the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) Polytechnic horticulture courses. The Allan Wilson Centre is currently looking at ways it can work with EIT to further support and encourage training. Many of the graduates are mature students who have relished the chance to learn how to grow food and support their families. When Captain Cook and his crew first arrived in the Bay in 1769, Banks and Solander commented on the flourishing gardens there.
The launch event included presentations by Allan Wilson Centre scientists - Nicky Nelson, an expert in tuatara re-introductions, and Nigel French, a specialist in water quality - to introduce the community to some of the science that is available from the Allan Wilson Centre to support the realisation of their vision.
For further information
Uawanui Project booklet
Uawa Bioblitz Report
Two rare species discovered in Uawa/Tolaga Bay census: Students, aged 5-18, from Tolaga Bay Area School, guided by scientists from the Allan Wilson Centre, DOC, Te Papa, and Groundtruth, collected over 500 species of plants and animals in a 24-hour Bioblitz (12-13 Feb) – a survey of local biodiversity that will inform the restoration project underway there. Excitingly, they detected the presence of bats, the only native land mammal we have, and sighted the NZ Dotterel, a shorebird which is rarer even than kiwi and tigers! Full results will be posted on this site soon. The full report is now available here