A special day for the team

The Jobs for Nature team at Puketi Forest Trust were hugely privileged to have been welcomed to the rohe of Ngati Toro in a powhiri at Piki-Te-Aroha marae. The marae is nestled in the foothills of the forest at Rahiri very close to where we have set up our pest control base. The pest control kaimahi had been waiting eagerly while the whole team is established so that we could all be present. Whilst working in the ngahere the team has been all too aware of the importance of a powhiri in receiving the blessing to work in a place of such spiritual and cultural significance.

We gathered in the morning at base and were brought to Piki-Te-Aroha by Hapu Ngati Toro.  We were greeted as brothers and sisters and welcomed by Ngati Toro. It was acknowledged that Puketi Forest Trust and the marae share a vision of restoring the forest ecosystem with the understanding of its significance in the spiritual, cultural and social wellbeing of the community. We spoke of our connection as kaitiaki of the forest for future generations.

We shared a delicious kai (thank you to the marae!) and learned more about each other. There’s nothing quite like sharing kai for bringing people together and discovering connections. After kai we went to Tumutumu (Forest Pools) where we were welcomed into the forest, Charlie spoke, our kaimahi were offered a cloak of aroha when working in the ngahere.  To be given the blessing to work in the forest with a kaitiaki kaupapa was a great honour.

We want to offer our thanks to Piki-Te-Aroha marae and hapu, we hope we will be coming together more towards our shared vision for a healthy, thriving forest for future generations.