Rotoiti 15 Trust is one of Aotearoa’s largest Ahu Whenua Trusts. Trust Mātārae (Trustees) care for over 8400ha on behalf of over 16,200 whānau who whakapapa to the whenua. The whenua is currently in both plantation Pine and indigenous ngahere (forest) and home to many historically important sites, including Makatiti, Haroharo and Haumingi and Okataina. Each block/maunga is rich in kōrero, whakapapa, history and sites of significance.
While the history of Rotoiti 15 Trust spans the past 60 years, the whenua (lands) has been occupied by our tupuna (ancestors) for generations. Our pūrakau (traditional stories) give insight into the undisturbed paradise that our tūpuna lived in , inhabited only by the children of Tāne, and the whispers of patupaiarehe. A whenua rich in kākā, kererū, kokako, riddled with Tōtara and Rātā, that the waters were stunning, that the ngahere was so thick and dense, it was likened to a palisade. Our whenua saw the depths of Tangaroa, and after Maui fished the whenua up, it then saw the infancy of Te Arawa people in te takere o te Waka.
From Ngatoroirangi to Kahumatamomoe and Ihenga; from Rangitihi and Ngā Pumanawa e waru to the people of Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tarāwhai and Ngāti Rongomai; the lands of Rotoiti 15 have protected this whakapapa. Through the generations and the changes in the relationship with the whenua, the whenua has remained. The whenua has seen new beginnings and its companion death. It has welcomed warriors’ home from war and provided a nest to nurture love.
In contemporary times it is the Māori Land Court which captures the history of our lands within the pakehā land tenure system, which began as an amalgamation of several land blocks derived from Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai and Ngāti Tarāwhai hapū lands, along with land received from an exchange with the Crown. This exchange demonstrates our forbearer’s commitment to environmental sustainability and maintaining land ownership for economic growth.
In order to honor the aspirations of our tūpuna, and our tūpuna whenua, the Trust is focused on connecting with our taiao on both a physical and spiritual level, in nurturing our whakapapa connecting to our whenua, and rebuilding our traditional and innovative knowledge systems. It is with this lens that the Trust takes the next step on the ara (pathway) to better understand where our whenua is hurting and to take responsibility for the cause and the solution for the mamae (pain).
We would love to tell you more about Rotoiti 15 and our environmental projects to achieve these aspirations – check out our website or follow us on Pukamata (Facebook) for more information.