I haven’t had the opportunity to post a full list of all the volunteerism we completed, so here goes:
-At Tutereinga Marae (Mauri meeting house): We learned 3 waiatas (songs) in the Mauri language and went through a powhiri (welcoming ceremony). We are now part of this marae and their family.
-Sanctuary Trust Bird Park: We planted 1200 seedlings, removed 2 invasive trees and dismantled 20m of fenceline
-Lynley Park: We spent 5 hours doing release work (basically weeding). REALLY prickly, invasive plants like the blackberry vines.
-Upland Road: We created about 200m of track in the bush; which included removing some pretty crazy tree stumps.
-Tracking: We went to the shoreline and collected and measured blocks of cockels (like clams). They are a really important indicator species of how the entire harbor is doing, so counting and measuring them is really helpful.
-Omokoroa School: We visited this primary school which has a grant from the government to be an “eco-school,” so they have a large focus on learning about the environment. Each of us from ISV prepared a presentation about our hometowns for the students. Then, we helped them plant 450 trees on the grounds of their school. After the planting, we got to participate in some sports with the kids, including football (soccer), basketball, and net ball (like basketball).
-Avalon: We visited Avalon, a day center for adults with physical and developmental disabilities. We interacted with the people there and exhanged knowledge. We got a tour of their facilities and learned about the various contracting jobs they fulfill. We also had the pleasure of being the audience to their circus performance, and then got to learn some circus tricks for them. Unfortunately, our outdoor volunteering for the day got cancelled due to heavy rain, but it was still a rewarding experience.
-Tutereinga Marae: We went back to the marae for our final night on Project, where we slept in the marae, which is meant to be the embodiment of their ancestors. It was a great honor to be invited to sleep in the marae in that style, and we got to connect with our new family.
So that’s everything the Kuaka group accomplished during our two weeks, and now we’re halfway through the adventure tour! More adventures to come: white water rafting, zorbing, and black water rafting!