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Embodying kaitiakitanga

A person who embodies kaitiakitanga is Ian Tarei - Green Ribbon Award recipient. He provides an outstanding example of leadership for current and future generations.

Ian manages the Omataroa Kiwi Project which controls pests and predators on nearly 7,800 hectares of native and exotic forest, increasing survival rates for Kiwi and other native species. It’s been Ian’s tenacity and drive that have kept the project going in the face of early funding problems, and he now mentors other iwi conservation projects to share the kaupapa and encourage others.

Addressing the declining population not only for Kiwi, but also Kereru and North Island Robins, the environmental benefits of the Omataroa Kiwi Project have been significant. Kiwi survival rates are up over 50 percent. Established in a resource-stricken area with minimal support, it has been the passion of Ian and a small group of individuals that has driven the project over many years.

The team also works with schools, teaching pest control and passing on matauranga Māori, and training local people to keep the work going in the future.

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