The Hauturu Supporters Trust welcomes Ngaire Wallen onboard as a part-time co-ordinator working to support the Trust in delivering its objectives.

Ngaire writes: 

“I am looking forward to contributing to HST as coordinator.  It will be a learning curve for both parties as the Trust gets used to having paid contractors (we also have a contractor working on communications) and I get to understand more about the Trust.   Already I can see lots of exciting opportunities for HST to continue as an important and significant part of the Hauturu whanau, together with Ngāti Manuhiri and DOC.

A brief summary of facts about what I am:  partner, mother, former accountant, landscape designer, community coordinator for Takatu Landcare for 3 years, founding and active member of TOSSI including former treasurer and chairperson, currently involved in trapping and planting.  My current ‘areas of interest’ you might say, are continuing with a peninsula-wide bird monitoring project started with TLC and about to complete our 4th year, pursuing the development of a wetland restoration project at Tawharanui and adding value to HST.

I have long held that facts are but one way of describing anything; it is not only what you do but how and why you do it.

To partly explain who I am, my current book is ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ (1).  The author is a ‘scientist, Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at SUNY, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.  My kind of book, blending “Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants.”

The chapter ‘Learning the Grammar of Animacy’, states 

“To be native to a place we must learn to speak it’s language.” 

She then goes on to describe a grammar of animacy – where “we use the same words to address the living world as we use for our family.  Because they are our family.”  Included in the living world is virtually everything – rocks, rivers, mountains, plants, animals, insects, people.  She proposes that language should be “a mirror for seeing the animacy of the world, the life that pulses through all things.  This is the language that I hear in the woods; this is the language that lets us speak of what wells up all around us.” 

We were recently holed up in Raglan for a month house sitting, giving us the opportunity to explore the area at our leisure.    We got up at 5:00am one morning to drive to a small reserve further south which is home to the last ‘wild’ population of kōkako, best heard just after dawn.  Going up the hill, we heard one call, coming down, it was pretty much a continuous chorus of kōkako calling to each other.  Part of the language of the place, stopping us in our tracks in awe of that unmistakable, mournful, pure call.   My kind of adventure.  Last time I heard kōkako was on Hauturu. 

For those of us lucky enough to have experienced it, the mauri or life pulse of Te Hauturu-o-Toi is undeniable.  It feels special.  The language of the island includes the wind in the trees, the burble of the streams, the sigh of the waves on the boulder beach (on a good day) and of course the song of the birds.  The human voice is barely audible.  Thankfully. 

I look forward to being a part of turning the vision of the Conservation Management Plan for Te Hauturu-o-Toi into reality.  As Kimmerer writes:

“To become native to this place, if we are to survive here, and our neighbours too, our work is to learn to speak the grammar of animacy, so that we might truly be at home.” (pg58)

‘Braiding Sweetgrass’, Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2020, Penguin Random House UK, 2020

 



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