Taken on the penultimate evening of 2010, this is a landscape that has probably changed little over the last few hundred years. This is taken from Waikanae beach [click here to view location], looking south-east over the Rauoterangi Channel, towards Kapiti Island. The small island to the left of Kapiti Island is Tokomapuna Island (or Aeroplane Island). The top of the South Island can be seen faintly in the background. Continue reading
Of all the essays in the recently published Maori and the Environment: Kaitiaki, reviewed in a previous post, the essay that left me with one of the strongest lasting impressions was the second chapter. This essay tells the story of a hapu’s attempts to exercise kaitiakitanga (environmental stewardship) over Hokio Stream and Lake Horowhenua, west of the Horowhenua township of Levin [click here to view map]. Continue reading
Papaitonga is a dune lake in the Horowhenua coastal plain. It is surrounded by a very rare remnant of coastal north island forest. Just south of Levin, the 135 hectare Papaitonga Scenic Reserve is a little known but ecologically and historically remarkable place [click here to view map].
The reserve contains the only intact sequence from wetland to mature dry terrace forest in Wellington and Horowhenua. It is an important refuge for birds that depend on wetlands or lowland forests for their survival. Papaitonga is home to waterfowl and wading birds as well as forest species on the lake’s margins. However, like many remnant wetland forests, the health of this wetland forest is threatened by a receding water table. The reserve is surrounded by farmland which draws on large volumes of water for irrigation. Continue reading