WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Gathering votes

Te Rarawa Noho Taiao: Growing the next generation of Iwi environmental leaders

Te Rarawa Noho Taiao is a marae based experience aimed at providing opportunities for young Iwi members to engage with the Taiao (environment). It will expose them to Iwi environmental issues and leaders and lift their understanding of kaitiakitanga (hapū guardianship). It links them to the environmental practices of their tupuna (ancestors) Run by a collective of Iwi volunteers, including teachers, environmentalists, scientists, and local experts (hau kainga) the noho aims to excite rangatahi, and show them how they will become the environmental leaders for their hapū and Iwi in the future. It will stimulate their thinking and they can take some fresh ideas with them back to school for projects during the year. We can also build a library of curriculum ideas and resources for our teachers.

What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

Lack of community awareness about environmental issues and the need for catchment wide solutions and new leadership at a hapu and Iwi level. In the rohe of Te Rarawa we still have some wonderful areas of ngahere (bush), repo (wetlands)  and awa (waterways). However this is against a backdrop of several hundred years of environmental degradation including removal of native timber resources, erosion, siltation of harbours, rampant exotic weeds, numerous destructive pests etc. Unless we take an intergenerational approach we are doomed to fail in our efforts to rejuvenate our environment. 

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?

We need to engage with young people so they take ownership in the future. Each new generation needs to be brought up to speed, and empowered to make a difference. Environmental rejuvenation is an intergenerational challenge and will only be successful if we can win the hearts and minds of our rangatahi. We are planning a four day noho for around 30 teenagers in January where will focus on sand dune, native bush and estuarine ecology. We will look at the science alongside the Matauranga Maori and we will have fun. The tai tamariki will leave with new knowledge and will hopefully become eco-warriors for their hapu and Iwi as they grow up. Participants will be encouraged to consider tertiary study and a focus on science and the environment.

What makes your idea new and unique?

The marrying of matauranga Maori and science; young and old in an Iwi environment provides a unique platform to grow the next generation of kaitiaki (environmental leaders). It is a homegrown solution where we reinforce social cohesion, cultural identity and environmental engagement.

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

Firstly the tai tamariki and their whanau will benefit and in turn their hapu and Iwi. The concept is transferable and with sufficient funding could be replicated across the country. It is a good idea capable of achieving multiple outcomes for the environment but also social and cultural. 

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

Outline budget   

Marae hire 1500
Catering costs  3600
Van hire  1500
Vehicle costs 750
T-shirts      2000
Coordination costs 3600
Boat hire 1200
Noho resources 1500
Administration 750
Travel speakers 2800
Koha for speakers 1200
Contingency 3000
Total 23400

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List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?

Te Wānanga Papa Taiao Pāuaua / Earthcare Enterprise Academies: This would complement what we are trying to promote through Noho Taiao.

Māori Carbon Farming Cooperative;  A Better Way to Fund Permanent Forest in Aotearoa; these two initiatives tackle one of the biggest barriers Maori land being converted or stauing as permanent forests.

Investigating the weird, wonderful and sometimes freaky biodiversity of the Waikato: Good potential for Iwi and community involvement

Subscribe to a Marine Reserve: A practical way for ordinary people to make a difference

How could you improve your idea?

There is an opportunity to develop a solid link through the participating tamariki to their schools. Participants will be drawn from across the country for this summer holiday programme. It would be great to send them back to school with a brief for some cool environmental project which would benefit both hapu and Iwi and go towards NCEA credits. Resources and curriculum development will alss grow out of successive Noho Taiao.

edited on Oct 14, 2017 by Paul White

Rachele Oct 14, 2017



Kevin Bain Oct 14, 2017

Cool idea to generate awareness among the young guys and girls. Please also don’t wait until these young kids become leaders before they speak up, encourage them to talk to the elders and current leaders, convince the elders and leader to please act now.
Good luck Kevin


Paul White Oct 14, 2017

Yes we see great leadership amongst our young people and they are already taking the lead and infuencing those around them.


Tiakina Nga Taonga Oct 14, 2017

Kia kaha Nga mihi nui aroha kia koutou


Paul White Oct 14, 2017

Tena koe mo to tautoko.


Whare Kupenga-Keefe Oct 14, 2017

Mauri ora mai tawhito!


Becky Wilson Oct 15, 2017

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone


Paul White Oct 17, 2017



Gemma McGrath Oct 15, 2017

Kia ora Paul
Love this awesome and important idea!

We really want to engage more with iwi and youth too. It would be great to have more iwi involvement with the marine mammal sightings app – another reason why we want a Te Reo version. Keen to explore possible collaboration. Mātauranga Māori synegised with science is a founding Pou of my Masters focus and I'm very passionate about it. Would love to help out and be involved.

All the best for advancing your idea and the Awards,

Ngā mihi,



Paul White Oct 17, 2017

Send us your email address and we can send you some details. The kids really like anything with technology involved.


Nigel Binks Oct 15, 2017

This is a great idea, what expectations do you have for implementing this as a program over time? Or is it only to be applied to a single occasion for the single group?


Paul White Oct 17, 2017

We have been developing this for a while and intend to run it on an annual basis. We are working closely with schools, marae, REAP, and Te Ahu Tu Roa (Enviro-schools), Universities and CRIs. We are happy to share our experience with other Iwi.