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Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project invites community to feel the land’s rhythms at Lake Domain

Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project invites community to feel the land’s rhythms at Lake Domain

Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Project is inviting the community to Lake Domain, on the Northern shores of Lake Wairarapa, on Sunday 21 March for a free event featuring live music, interactive artworks and the chance to discover creatures that live in the waters of Wairarapa Moana.

‘Whakarongo ki te taiao - Feeling the land’s rhythms’ is a community event celebrating Wairarapa Moana’s recognition as an ‘internationally significant’ wetland under the Ramsar Convention.

The recognition, which was announced in August last year, was welcomed with excitement from mana whenua,  the community, Greater Wellington and its project partners who have been working together for years to protect and restore this beloved ancestor for local iwi and precious resource for the future.

Greater Wellington councillor for Wairarapa Adrienne Staples is looking forward to gathering with the community at the Wairarapa Moana.

“Gaining international recognition through the Ramsar status was a huge achievement. This is the first time we’re coming together celebrate that as a community – and everyone is invited.

“The vision of the Wairarapa Moana Project is to ensure this taonga is cherished as a place of cultural and historical significance that inspires future generations. We can only get there if people feel a deep connection to the nature and recognise the tremendous value that it holds. With this free, family-friendly event, we’re offering everyone a chance to discover, explore and enjoy this special place,” says Cr Staples.

The event’s unique name was given by Rāwiri Smith from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, a Wairarapa Moana Wetland Project partner.

‘Whakarongo’ means to listen, but also to pay attention with all the senses. ‘Taiao’ means environment, but can be broken down into ‘tai’ (tide) and ‘ao’ (earth), which references the rhythms of nature.   

The name is apt, because the event will feature live music, artwork from local artists Siv Fjaerestad and Sam Ludden, as well as heaps of stalls and activities hosted by local groups and organisations where people can learn more about the Moana’s native plants, animals and their ecosystems.

The event’s oldest attendee will be Koro, an ancient Totara log. Koro was found on the shores of Wairarapa Moana by musician and artist Warren Maxwell, who then lovingly crafted the log into an instrument that can only be described as a musical experience. The extraordinary and ancient Koro will be available for interactive musical fun.

No summer event would be complete without a sausage sizzle, and this is no exception, so visitors are encouraged to bring gold coins to take part.

Whakarongo ki te taiao is part of Greater Wellington’s jam-packed summer events programme, which runs until the end of March featuring everything from outdoor movie nights, to mountain biking and scuba diving.

“Our summer events are really a celebration of te taiao, our natural environment. This event in particular is special because it’s a chance to build and strengthen that connection between the Moana and the people who live, visit and play there. At the end of the day, that’s what Greater Wellington is all about: the environment and the people.” says Cr Staples.

Check out the GW Summer website to explore what else is on this summer. 

To discover stories of the Moana and connect with the Wairarapa Moana community and project partners, visit the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands website


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