The group of students protecting our mounga

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On Tuesday last week, we held a whakatau to welcome a new intake of students into the New Zealand Certificate of Pest Operations (Level 3). These students are rangers from six groups across the region, Te Kāhui o Taranaki, Haumanuhia te Hononga Taiao of Te Korowai o Ngāruahine, Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū, Taranaki Mounga, East Taranaki Environmental Collective (ETEC) and Department of Conservation (DOC).

Collectively the group is working towards the common goal around conservation, restoration and environmental management mahi across the Taranaki region. While all working towards this goal, each group has individual’s responsibilities and areas on and around the mounga that they look after in order to help achieve this.

Ngāti Tawhirikura is responsible for looking after the eco corner along the Waiwhakaiho Awa right up to the mounga. ETEC is dedicated to protecting the ecosystem and biodiversity in East Taranaki along our eastern broader.

The Ngāruahine team supports the restoration activities within their rohe along the southern southern side of their tupuna maunga, while the Taranaki Iwi taiao team work across their rohe along the western coast. The Taranaki Mounga Project has an ambitious vision for the Mounga over a 20-year time frame taking place in three phrases.  

The students’ are already in full-time employment working in the conservation environment. The New Zealand Certificate in Pest Operations course is helping them add another tool to their tool belt. The students are working with their tutor to cater the learner around there full-time jobs. 

The students’ are hoping to gain a lot of the course including better understanding of the environments, pests and firearm safety.

Hare Goldsmith (Te Atiawa) who had previously been working as a tradesman in Australia has been loving the shift in career.

“I was previously working as a tradie in Sydney and I wanted to be something more fulfilling then construction and this job allows me to do that,” he said.

“Being able to work in a te ao Māori environment, being comfortable being Māori and doing the mahi to support my whānau makes it even more fulfilling,” he said.  

Every day is unique being a ranger. One day you could be eradicating pests, enhancing the eco corner from the mounga to the mouth, or salvaging fish.  

Heheua te mangemange nui kia tupu whakaritorito te toi a te kawa ora – Clean the obstruction to let well-being flourish. ~ Taranaki Iwi


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