Native Plant Nurseries – building whānui connections for resilience

Ahikā provided facilitation and technical advice to representatives of four Murihiku papatipu rūnanga to develop a business case for a native plant nursery in Southland.

Dubbed the Murihikunui Project, Te Puni Kōkiri funded the work to strengthen the connections between Hokonui, Waihōpai, Awarua, and Oraka-Aparima runanga while cooperatively planning to build wider community connections with mahinga kai and whenua

Kanuka seedlings in nursery tray

We supported and facilitated the voices of the representatives of each rūnanga, to ensure local needs were built into the business plan, resulting in development opportunities reflecting local aspirations.

In creating the business case, we evaluated the capital and operational costs, and ongoing financial sustainability, taking regional and future demand for forest planting into account.

We worked with education providers to assess opportunities for age-specific education with recognised national accreditation through planting and associated activities including horticulture, apiculture, pest eradication, forestry, mahinga kai, and environmental studies.

Supporting the strong business case, the Ministry for Primary Industries funded $2.3 million towards the start up, and Invercargill City Council offered its disused propagation facilities.

In a short time, Te Tapu o Tāne Ltd has established in Invercargill. It’s a commercial enterprise prioritising social, cultural, leadership and environmental outcomes.

The process has helped strengthen relationships between the rūnanga as they continue to work together to run the large propagation facility and set up smaller growing facilities at each marae.