Combine a festival of music, local food and beverages, with a pest eradication theme and you get the Picton Pestival! Over 600 Picton locals and visitors enjoyed the event, celebrating Kaipupu Point Sanctuary’s first year anniversary of being open to the public.
Meeting a tuatara
The popular conservation zone drew crowds, with delighted children and adults having the chance to touch the tuatara and get up close with a falcon from the Marlborough Falcon Trust.
I attended, along with other DOC staff and a host of different community groups. We were on hand to give out information on pests, pest control and native flora and fauna.
There was an interesting line-up of speakers, discussing the current Battle for our Birds campaign and the innovative local Putanui Point pest control trial.
DOC’s Roy Grose took out Pest Contest and caught a whopping 11 different pest species, unfortunately highlighting how many pests there are in Marlborough area.
Organising an event such as this is not without its challenges or expenses, but kudos goes towards the small committee of volunteers who kept people entertained, watered and fed throughout the day.
The Pestival is growing into a much anticipated Marlborough event.
I know campers can be a bit picky, so we cater to a range of campers and camping styles; from lush forest settings, to sandy beaches and shimmering lakes.
You can camp in scenic surroundings from as little as $6 a night.
For the wilderness wanderer, camping is definitely about getting away from it all. A bit of bush or forest perhaps, or maybe a tranquil lake or a bubbling brook… Ah, the serenity!
To satisfy your quest for peace and quiet, campsites off the beaten track are your best bet. They have toilets and a water supply (possibly a stream), and that’s probably it! You don’t need to book them either and some are even free.
In Marlborough there lots of campsites which would suit the wilderness wanderer, especially those in the Marlborough Sounds which you need a boat to reach, like Putanui Point, South Arm and Tawa Bay.
Molesworth Station. Photo: Gregor Ronald
If you are travelling by car you could visit Titirangi Farm Park in the outer Kenepuru Sound, Cob Cottage in Molesworth or Whatamango Bay on the Port Underwood Rd.
Family campers have young ones that can dictate where you can go.
To keep them happy, and yourself sane, you’ll need access to activities in the area to occupy them—and it wouldn’t hurt to have a few facilities to help make things simpler.
Most family campers don’t mind having other families and campers around, and like the idea that an ice-cream treat isn’t too far away!
Pelorus Bridge and Whites Bay are perfect for families – good facilities, safe swimming areas, plenty of walks and not too far to travel.
White’s Bay beach
If the thought of camping freaks you out a little, because you don’t want to use a long drop and would rather not go without a shower, then you might just be a glamper (glamour camper). You know that camping is a fun, social summer ‘must-do’, but you want to ease in to it gently.
At these sites there may not be cell phone reception, and there won’t be a power plug for your hair straightener sorry, but you will find showers and won’t be too far from an ice cream, or a coffee if you’re lucky!
Check out the DOC website to find links to more conservation campsites in Marlborough, and the rest of New Zealand, and dust off your tent, air out the chilly bin, and get out and create some long-lasting memories in our great outdoors.
Te Pūkenga Atawhai is a course run by DOC for the specific purpose of enlightening its staff about Māori, Māori issues, Māori culture/beliefs, the Treaty of Waitangi, and the proper (tika) ways in which to conduct yourself when you interact with tangata whenua – See in our line(s) of work, we deal with tangata whenua all the time.
The course is run by Pou Kura Taiao – Indigenous Conservation Ethics Managers, who among other roles are ‘cultural advisors’ that work for the Department. The Pou are all extremely nice blokes (There is one female Pou who I’m led to believe is the rose amongst the thorns) exuding all sorts of mana. The Pou know way more than a thing or two about their culture.
I’m venturing forth from my secluded house in the Wellington ‘burbs, to sleep on a marae with a bunch of anonymous snorers on Arapaoa Marae in Waikawa, and learn about the Treaty amongst other things. And what should I expect? I’m really not quite sure…
Te Pukenga Atawhai participants and Pou Kura Taiao assembled outside Waikawa Marae. Photo: Jazz Scott
Like I say, I truly didn’t know what to expect. I was on a ferry with about 4 people I knew from the Wellington office I work from, and I was about to join about 35 other strangers for a week on the Marae in Waikawa, which is very close to Picton in the Marlborough Sounds.
So I joined around forty of my esteemed colleagues, who were from Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, Motueka, Reefton, Aoraki/Mt Cook, the NZ Fire Service and elsewhere. We arrived at Waikawa and were brought onto the Marae with a traditional powhiri (welcome). I’d seen powhiri before on the tele and stuff, but I’d never actually experienced one, let alone participated in one… ‘What do I do now?’ I’m wondering, the whole way through… But luckily Te Pūkenga Atawhai is one of those places where ignorance (read: naivety) isn’t shunned, rather it’s welcomed, and then if need be it’s corrected for you in the nicest way possible.
Participants are welcomed onto the marae as we held our own powhiri and hui as a group. Photo: Anaru Luke
Te Pūkenga Atawhai comfortably takes people out of their comfort zones, and it’s a good thing. Each of us had the best part of a week to write our own mihi (greeting) completely in te reo māori. On the last day, each and every one of us got up in front of the whole group in the whare-nui, and delivered his or her mihi. The mihi was followed by a presentation of a taonga (treasure) by each person. Some people talked about their whanau at home, others spoke of their waka or another meaningful possession of theirs. Personally, I talked about my rhyme-book (I make Hip-Hop music) given to me by my Mother, and I thought that one of my conservation-themed verses would be appreciated by the group, so I performed a part of it after my mihi as my taonga. It has to be said that everyone did splendidly, with a task that certainly doesn’t come easily to non-speakers of te reo māori.
Ken Clarke joined us from the NZ Fire Service, here he participates in a role play activity involving the Treaty of Waitangi. Photo: Anaru Luke
When I went to the marae, I already possessed this disconnected vocabulary of te reo māori that I didn’t really know what to do with. I was like: “So when do I say ‘ka pai’?” or “Why do we always sing a waiata after someone has spoken?” or even just “Why do I have to take my shoes off at the whare-nui?” Well now I know about all of that, thanks to DOC and the Pou. I knew about some words, like tu meke, whare, ka pai etc, but now I actually feel comfortable integrating te reo māori into my everyday language. Good times.
Carving at the Marae front gate. Photo: Sam O'Leary
Of course, I know some people who boo-hoo the idea, like: “Maan what a waste of money, I can’t believe DOC’s actually paying for you to stay on a marae with the Maa-reys for a week…way to spend our taxes bro!”
Te Pūkenga Atawhai though, is no holiday. We left with our brains bursting with both fresh and ancient information, and also with the knowledge that probably, we would soon be putting this new information to use in each of our roles. Since treaty settlements began, we’ve had more and more to do with Māori, and if you look across the Department, we probably interact on a near-daily basis. Most of our core business at DOC will involve Māori at some time, and Te Pūkenga Atawhai goes a long way towards the strong relationships we now enjoy with iwi right across Aotearoa.
A poupou depicting Kupe's struggle with the octopus he chased across the Pacific Ocean. This pillar is at Karaka Point, near Waikawa in the Marlborough Sounds. Photo: Sam O'Leary
Te Pūkenga Atawhai seems to me, to be a pretty unique thing. I don’t hear about many other employers sending their staff to learn about Māori culture and how to deal with and relate to tangata whenua, but I suppose there aren’t too many Government Departments and indeed businesses that work with Iwi as much as we do. If any of you out there have had some similar experiences either with DOC or with any other sort of organisation then let us know. I’d be keen to hear about it, drop us a comment or any questions you’ve got.
Tou rourou, toku rourou, ka ora te Iwi.
(With your contribution and my contribution we will thrive.)
And cheers for reading 😀
The whare-nui through the entrance to the marae. Photo: Sam O'Leary
Pou Hapai Joe Harawira, jammin' in the whare-kai. Photo: Sam O'Leary