Tongaporutu Maori and Snowchange Form Official Relations and Expand Rewilding

Ngā Hapū o Poutama community with Mt. Taranaki in the background. Photo: Eero Murtomäki, Snowchange

Ngā Hapū o Poutama community with Mt. Taranaki in the background. Photo: Eero Murtomäki, Snowchange

Ngā Hapū o Poutama, a Maori community on the SW side of the North Island, Aoteoroa (New Zealand) and Snowchange Cooperative have been working together on questions of Indigenous knowledge, climate change, community development and many other aspects since 2008Today, Ngā Hapū o Poutama and Snowchange sign a far-reaching agreement on formalizing relations and expanding rewilding efforts in the region.

Ngā Hapū o Poutama is a Maori community located close to Taranaki. Snowchange delegates visited first there in 2008 when the Snowchange 2008 Conference was organized in the region. Now in June 2020, the parties have signed a sweeping agreement to expand actions together. The agreement includes

  • Ngā Hapū o Poutama joining as a full member in the Snowchange network of member communities
  • an increased role in the international participation of Ngā Hapū o Poutama in Snowchange global events from now on
  • Widening Indigenous-knowledge -led restoration, rewilding and conservation efforts especially in the planned Poutama Park area. This is connected also with the Landscape Rewilding Programme of Snowchange forming a global network of rewilded sites led by Indigenous and traditional knowledge.
  • Educational and youth initiatives to support Maori knowledge transfers and revitalization of Maori knowledge

Ngā Hapū o Poutama spokesperson Russell Gibbs recently highlighted the role and importance of land-based communities in times like the COVID where food security and survival become major questions. Strengthening direct relations and a membership in the Snowchange global network is a logical step in this regard too.

Tero Mustonen, President of Snowchange added: “Snowchange – Ngā Hapū o Poutama relations are already one of a closely-knit family. Our old people and past and present members have visited and exchanged. This is a logical next step. Ngā Hapū o Poutama delegates have been hosted also here in our villages in Finland. Taking these steps of unity to increase relations, adding resources for Indigenous-led work in Aoteoroa and healing the damages to the land using Indigenous-led rewilding are front and center in Snowchange work. We salute our relatives at Ngā Hapū o Poutama and welcome them as permanent members to Snowchange. As in Aoteoroa – Kia ora!

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