08 Sep Natural Habitats working with Iwi
Natural Habitats are working with iwi on numerous ecological projects to not only create landscape designs with cultural meaning, but to also benefit local hapu in training
Natural Habitats are working with iwi on numerous ecological projects to not only create landscape designs with cultural meaning, but to also benefit local hapu in training.
The latest project completed is Stage 2 of the Ngaruawahia Expressway. Natural Habitats wanted to ensure the local Tainui iwi, derived as much benefit as possible from the project and worked jointly on how youth could be employed. They inducted and trained young unemployed rangatahi into our project teams, who then helped implement the landscape designs.
“Natural Habitats engaged Tainui and provided job opportunities along with extensive training in health and safety, work ethics and best horticultural planting practices. In turn these skills will help build towards NZQA credits,” said Tūrangawaewae Board of Trustees Environment representative, Dennis Ngataki.
“We have been part of many significant projects which have embodied a holistic approach, weaving together sustainable practices with connective and meaningful environments. The aim of our landscapes are to strengthen our connection to Papatuanuku, make cultural identity visible through design, markers and art and strive to maintain a healthy and plentiful environment for future generations,” says Debbie Tikao, Natural Habitats’ Principal Landscape Architect.
Natural Habitats endeavor to integrate traditional indigenous knowledge to provide a deeper understanding of their environment. While planting out Wiri Men’s Prison, Natural Habitats also involved Corrections, so inmates could contribute to improving their surroundings.
Hon Anne Tolley, Ministry of Corrections wrote, “Employment is considered to be one of the most important factors in preventing re-offending, and I would like to express my gratitude to Natural Habitats for offering job opportunities to offenders. Work experience gives ex-offenders a legitimate income, heightened self respect and the ability to contribute to the financial wellbeing of their whānau. Most importantly it leads to better lives and safer communities.”
Natural Habitats have been developing their knowledge of Mātauranga Māori relating to Māori values, sustainable development, enhancement and protection of native biodiversity and knowledge of native plants, which are used for traditional crafts, rongoa and kai. This knowledge has been growing over many years through working closely with various iwi, kaumatua, Māori architects, artists and through our own whānau involvement.
Josephine Clarke, Natural Habitat’s Maori Landscape Architecture Graduate, is passionate about strengthening an awareness of Tikanga Māori (Māori philosophies/processes) and Mātauranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge) within the profession.