Avon- Ōtākaro Network has partnered with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to develop the Mahinga Kai Exemplar, a biodiversity restoration and earthquake recovery project in Anzac Drive Reserve, Christchurch.
Mahinga kai, which means ‘work the food’, is a way of thinking that involves the simultaneous protection and use of resources. The focus of the Mahinga Kai Exemplar is to educate young people and the community about the importance of mahinga kai values for health and wellbeing of the environment and communities. It consists of extensive planting of native species to demonstrate how planting reduces invasive plant species, cleans waterways, provides habitats for fauna and provides resources for all.
The project also involves creating outdoor education spaces in collaboration with schools, including orchards, beekeeping, hydrology, mara rongoā, pa harakeke, digital technology and other learning opportunities.
The project is enabling communities to take ownership by engaging in the restoration from the beginning, and nurturing it to become a legacy for the environment and community. Since the project began in July 2014, over 6,000 trees have been planted in the Anzac Drive Reserve.
Avon- Ōtākaro Network is a finalist in the Restorative Innovation category of the 2016 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.