For 30 years, Tamaki Māori Village has been an iconic visitor destination in Rotorua –gaining the most awards of any cultural attraction in New Zealand and voted the 7th best experience in the world by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards in 2018. They are a significant employer and believe in making a positive social impact in their communities.
As a result of tourist numbers having significantly dropped due to COVID-19, Tamaki Maori Village looked to other ways to provide new opportunities for their people, and approached Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology to do training in the field of primary industry. As part of the course content students are required to participate in a riparian project. Recently, this saw Tamaki students come to Wairakei Estate to undertake riparian planting alongside the estate’s Assets and Maintenance Team. Planting work took place at the Tahorakuri Wetland, as well as at the new Wairua O Tahorakuri Wetland project.
The Tamaki group of 20 enthusiastic students rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in to finding appropriate homes for 2,700 plants. Assets and Maintenance Team Supervisor, John Isaacs, also took the time just prior lunch to talk to the team about best practice for riparian and wetland planting. He explained that there can be up to three zones (lower bank, upper bank and grass strip) of plant types within a healthy riparian zone. Planting the upper and lower banks will improve the water quality more than using grass strips alone. The group also learned that specific plants are selected for each zone, with the correct plant spacings to ensure the plants will outcompete weeds.
The Tamaki students thoroughly enjoyed their day and Wairakei Estate’s Assets and Maintenance team really appreciated all their efforts. Normally a very vocal group, apparently they had a very quiet bus trip home. The group gave their thanks to Wairakei Estate team for giving them this opportunity to learn first-hand about riparian planting and about the environmental importance of wetlands.