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Te Aka Kōtuia: Cultivating collaboration for ecological restoration

Since its establishment in 2018, the Iwi, Hapū & Community Nursery Network has been dedicated to enhancing biodiversity across the Auckland Region. Now, under a new name and with a refined vision, Te Aka Kōtuia continues its mission to empower local communities and restore the diverse ecosystems of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Originally founded to address the need for collaboration among community nurseries, the network has flourished with the support of Auckland Council, along with facilitation from Kaipātiki Project in partnership with Uru Whakaaro.

Te Aka Kōtuia represents the many layers of ngahere that weave together diverse, interconnected elements within the forest. This network comprises specialists in native plant nurseries who embrace kaitiaki and community-

centered approaches to ecological restoration. Their shared vision is to see Auckland’s ecosystems thriving, sustained by the stewardship of local communities.

“We aim to create a way in which everyone, including iwi, hapū, schools and community nursery volunteers, can support each other in nurturing native plants and organising conservation efforts,” explains Charmaine Bailie, Uru Whakaaro.

Te Aka Kōtuia is available to support 39 nurseries, with new additions welcomed as the initiative grows. Its current focus involves implementing a robust 10-year strategy, and establishing a seed library. Additionally, Te Aka Kōtuia is committed to sharing Māori-led best practices in biosecurity and biodiversity operations, aligned with the principles of the Plant Pass certification scheme.

“Our strategy encompasses elevating the aspirations of mana whenua, promoting appropriate and respectful processes, embracing our duty of care towards people and nature, fostering a culture of learning, sharing, and fun, and advocating for professional/open-source information,” says Charmaine Bailie.

Te Aka Kōtuia’s dedication to nurturing native plant diversity and fostering community engagement underscores its pivotal role in Auckland’s ecological restoration efforts. With a clear vision and collaborative spirit, the network continues to make strides towards a more sustainable and biodiverse future for Tāmaki Makaurau.


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