April 16, 2021
Rangitane ready to share wildlife sanctuary with nation
Rangitāne is set to gift the Pūkaha Forest to the people of Aotearoa.
The 942ha forest at Pūkaha-Mount Bruce in northern Wairarapa was returned to the iwi in February last year as part of the joint Rangitāne o Tāmaki Nui a Rua and Rangitāne o Wairarapa treaty settlement.
Rangitāne have held a number of well attended wānanga at the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre to reconnect the people to the land and its inhabitants.
The iwi’s presence on site has been increased, including in cultural practices and planning.
Current developments at Pūkaha include building a $4.5m Environmental Education and overnight stay facility, a whare whakairo with three full time Rangitāne carvers working onsite, a wharenui, a nocturnal boardwalk and significant new education programmes such as the UCOL Certificate in Conservation which started in February.
Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust former chair Jason Kerehi says Pūkaha is a cornerstone of Rangitāne identity and iwi has been actively involved in conservation work there for the past 40 years.
It will continue to have an ever-increasing presence after the handover on May 1.
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