Testing the waters at Puhinui Stream

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Youth from Te Pu-a-Ngā Maara were invited by Auckland Council and Panuku to be part of the Wiri Kotahitanga community day beside the Puhinui Stream in Wiri.

The family event hosted by Panuku, Manurewa Local Board and Healthy Families South Auckland was an opportunity for locals to learn about the future of Manukau including the new Barrowcliffe Bridge, Wiri Playground and restoring the health of the Puhinui Stream. 

Te Pu-a-Ngā Maara is made up of youth from three marae and are upheld by three guiding practices, whanaungatanga (place of belonging), matauranaga (knowledge, understanding and wisdom), and kaitiakitanga (guardians or stewards). The group has been vital in collecting and analysing data that will help restore the water quality in the Puhinui stream. 

The youth took to the stage to engage with the local community spreading their message of indigenous environmental solutions . 

“We want to bring indigenous solutions to solve modern problems for a sustainable future” Nuhaka, told the crowd at Wiri Kotahitanga. 

The group has developed a water testing kit with the help of the University of Auckland to regularly test the quality of the Puhinui stream, Totara stream and Matukutureia. 

The roopu are active kaitiakis that have been leading the way in riparian planting which helps deter livestock from entering streams, manages waterflow and naturally filters pollution.

Member of Te Pu-a-Nga Maara, Honey Olsen says she does it because it’s fun and it makes her feel better knowing she is doing something for her papakainga, and whenua. 

The on stage korero captured the audience’s attention and left locals wanting to know more, and to have a go at testing the waters of the Puhinui Stream. 

Healthy Families System Innovator Alex Whitecombe says, this opportunity has been big for their development as rangatahi and really leading in this space of indigenous solutions for modern problems.

“We were able to partner  Te Pu-a-Ngā Maara with Panuku to give them a platform to share their mahi and to test the waters of the Puhinui with the community.  It’s been an awesome day”. 

The aim is to roll out the water testing kits to schools throughout New Zealand with each school adopting their own stream.

The group  is now focusing their efforts on educating more communities and hope to be part of more events like these in South Auckland. To find out more about Te Pu-a-Ngā Maara , go to https://www.facebook.com/Te-Pu-a-Nga-Maara