The Maori Kingi, Tuheitia, is playing a hands-on role in preparation for the 118th Turangawaewae Regatta, operating a digger in a clean up along the banks of the Waikato River.
Receding river levels and erosion has exposed broken glass, concrete blocks, roofing iron and other debris from the old rubbish dump below the marae.
The land is owned by the Waikato District Council and classified as a reserve but rubbish and erosion has been concerning the tribe for years and the king decided to do something about it.
"The state of the river bank was such that we had to do something that demonstrated to the many guests of the King and to Regatta spectators that we take our kaitiaki responsibilities towards our awa seriously,'' said marae spokeswoman Mamae Takerei.
The 20-year old barge at the foot of Turangawaewae Marae was beached and sitting on a prcarious angle and was repositiond and stabilised so kapa haka performers can use it safely at the regatta.
Funding from the Waikato River Authority has enabled riparian planting with more than 1000 native flax and shrubs now lining the rivers edge.
When planting is finished, more than 3000 plants will cover an 800-metre stretch of the Waikato River below Turangawaewae.
The regatta starts on March 16.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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