During our summer holidays on the East Coast, we met the inspirational kaumatua, businessman and visionary, Wi Wanoa.
Wi’s aroha for the whenua has turned into a passion to preserve the unique landscape of his whānau land and transform it into a mainland reserve, free from introduced pests and predators; to allow the myriad of trees, species of weta and native bird life to flourish.
It has been a long road for Wi.
His vision for the Tangikaroro reserve near Te Araroa on the East Cape was born 10 years ago. Since that time he’s poured his life savings into the vision, commissioning consultants and study teams to assess and monitor the vast array of native flora and fauna on the block. While he’s had funding setbacks over the years, he hasn't given up.
Ecological research at Tangikaroro to benchmark and track species within the reserve.
Studies of Weta numbers and species has been undertaken on Tangikaroro.
The largest Kanuka on record is found at Tangikaroro Park.
Wi's heart's desire is to see the vibrant bird life restored to what it was in the time of Hinerupe, the esteemed female hapu leader in the area, around 1700. Legend has it that Hinerupe often sent her warriors to Tangikaroro for food because of the abundance of native birds.
For Wi, the name Tangikaroro - which means ‘Cry of the Gull’ - has special significance. The crying gull, often heard when birds flee an impending storm, has come to be seen as a ‘Tohu’ (sign) by Wi and his whānau that they have the urgent and necessary task, as part of their ‘Kaitiaki’ (guardianship) role in this area, to restore a safe home for the denizens of the natural world.
We are inspired by Wi's commitment to preserve the treasure gifted to him by his tupuna and his desire and drive to share it with all New Zealanders. You can read more about Tangikaroro here.
Meet Chester. Wi's Chief Pest Control Officer.
We love connecting with people who are passionate about preserving the whenua and its native wildlife. If you know inspirational individuals who are doing their bit to see the natural world flourish, we’d love to hear their story. Please email Georgina, or share the story below!