You can’t rush the work or hope for quicker results when it comes to sustainable land practices and improving our country’s waterways.
Speakers at the NZ Landcare Trust’s National Catchments Forum held in Wellington this week, supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry for the Environment, emphasised that catchment work can’t be rushed.
“All of our answers are in nature, and we need to let that teach us. We need to step back and quiet our minds. While it is easy for the centre of our work to become about securing funding, we need to not lose sight that it is about our waterways, our land,” says Ngāti Uenukukõpako’s Tireni Ratema.
Speaking to the forum, Tireni used the analogy of planting a seed as a reminder to those in the audience that success takes time.
“In our work, we plant different types of natives to help protect our waterways. We need to understand that we don’t just plant a seed and expect it to pop up straight away. The root system has to develop, to strengthen, and become part of the ecosystem within the soil. The plant grows from there, and because of its strong roots, it can handle the weather. Only then, will it bear the fruit. Putting in the work, the patience, the time, that gets the fruit – fruit just doesn’t appear from the seed.”
“Bigger is not better – we need to deepen our work, deepen our roots and that takes time.”
Working towards a legacy of better water quality for our tamariki was essential, she says.
“It is important to include our tamariki in all our steps – this brings the adults together to create a better future for our young people. We need to detach ourselves from our different views and come together on our vision, of healthy whenua, of healthy waterways, and healthy tamariki.”
There has been a lot of talk at the forum about the generations ahead of us, says Pūniu River Care’s Quinton Tunoho.
“It is a given that we need to leave a better future for those to come. It’s a balance of looking forward, while also focussing on the now. People need to reconnect with their environment, wherever they are from. For us, the environment means the whole space around us – reconnect with the whenua, reconnect with the awa, and te ao in general,” Quinton says.
Taking the time to appreciate the progress made along the journey was also important, he says.
The forum concluded on Friday afternoon following two days of inspirational, interesting and thought-provoking presentations and panels.
“This event was the first of its kind for New Zealand and it was a fantastic success,” says NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar.
“We announced a new strategic partnership with Westpac New Zealand. The Westpac Water Care Project will support the work of catchment groups through grants and knowledge-sharing events. The partnership also opens the door for Westpac staff from throughout the country to volunteer and get involved in catchment groups, which would be great to see.”
Westpac New Zealand head of Agribusiness Tim Henshaw says Westpac is delighted to be partnering with the NZ Landcare Trust to support the great work they do improving the sustainability of land and waterways across the country.
“This partnership has a great alignment with Westpac’s focus on Sustainability and our support for the Agri sector and regional New Zealand,” Tim says.
All of our answers are in nature, and we need to let that teach us. We need to step back and quiet our minds. While it is easy for the centre of our work to become about securing funding, we need to not lose sight that it is about our waterways, our land
This event was the first of its kind for New Zealand and it was a fantastic success.