In three generations, Northland is a flourishing tapestry of abundant and resilient ecosystems.
See our impact report below and join us in celebrating our progress toward our vision.
Tuia te rangi, tuia te whenua, tuia te here tangata, ka rongo te pō, ka rongo te ao. Tiheiwā mauri ora!
What would you do with the chance to remake the world for the next three generations?
At Reconnecting Northland I get to improve my answer to that question every day. Since 2012 we have partnered with 7 community initiatives across Northland, turning places filled with good people who are badly in need of resources into seedbeds for landscape-level ecological restoration.
My version of the new world leans on traditional knowledge and teaching. All we need to know can be found in relationships with nature and other people. Each being has something valuable to offer to the collective, and the collective offers something back to all.
With this belief guiding us we sow the seeds of prosperity, well being, joy and sustainability at the same time. These crops are great companions and cannot be contained - they spread across communities. Soon everyone is benefitting from the harvest, even newcomers.
When we partnered with groups in the Hokianga as part of He Ripo Kau, it was like so many places where the voices of good people have gone unheard for decades, where many begin to feel that their contributions are not valuable.
We would see the conventional solution of “seven cars in the driveway,” where representatives of different agencies tend to different issues around children, families and communities. The resources to support people were fragmented; maintaining fragmented communities and fragmented selves.
The Hokianga has a proud ancestral history of mana motuhake (self-sufficiency) that has been a source of empowerment and connection for them. By celebrating this perspective we were able to seed greater collaborative partnerships, foster local leadership to advance long-held aspirations, bridge gaps to enable resourcing to land where it is most needed to grow local employment and widespread environmental benefits
This is just one of many examples you can read about in this report. Above all, I hope you find that building the world anew does not need to be wasteful, expensive or tedious. It is a joyful celebration that builds sustained value and nourishes earth.
I hope you will join us - to contribute what you have and to gain what awaits you.
Tātai whenua, tātai tangata, tātai oranga.
Eamon Nathan, Pou Manatū
Tēnā koutou katoa
This impact report contains the start of something more dynamic than can be read about or witnessed in this format. I am proud to share these pages with you as a first invitation to connect with us and see for yourself the possibility that is unfolding here for families and for our planet.
Reconnecting Northland’s impact comes from seeing and engaging the interconnection of all life. In it all actors – communities, agencies, businesses, trusted funding partners - become more than a simple label. Each of us identify, enable and facilitate the connections to scale up Northland’s ecological effort.
I write this as Board Chair of Reconnecting Northland, from my home in Kerikeri in the cradle of a threatened ecosystem of forests, coastal wetlands and several species of animal and flora that are only found in Te Taitokerau.
Today we are fast approaching a moment when capital resources may dry up for such projects as climate change threatens our personal assets and infrastructure. We must cover as much ground as possible before that day to ensure oases of biodiversity and wellbeing can continue on.
We cannot do this alone and we cannot do this by limiting ourselves. Reconnecting Northland succeeds because it sees whole people and whole communities. It calls for the full potential within me and all of us.
My professional background as a capital growth strategist and equity investor has me thinking about the critical path forward. I support Reconnecting Northland because I believe it is one of the highest leverage opportunities to bring large-scale ecological restoration, tied to human wellbeing, to the most threatened places on earth.
I hope the tremendous impact in these pages will call out to you and you will bring your whole self to this work as well. I look forward to hearing from you.
In 2017, The Tindall Foundation & Foundation North partnered a landmark agreement to fund Reconnecting Northland's existing programme through to 2022, to the value of $3 million. Their model of funding the programme was innovative and bold and allowed for a longer-term view of strategic investment to achieve ecological impact in the region.
During the period 2017-2019, Reconnecting Northland focused investment initially into building the necessary foundations for a successful working organisation, including recruitment of a skilled operations team to deliver on our long-term vision and strategy for Northland - that “In three generations, Northland is a flourishing tapestry of abundant and resilient ecosystems”.
Receiving crucial programme funding support in this way, accelerated Reconnecting Northland's ability to attract agency support and co-investment of initiatives over the 2019-2021 period. In real terms, it has allowed us to scale up our impact by bringing our programme funding into service to attract and invest a further $3.3 million into ‘on the ground’ socio-ecological benefits.
We hope to continue to build on this model and change the way community conservation efforts are supported. May these seeds continue to grow and take hold.
*Initiative financials below represent actual contract funding received during the period 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2021.
He Ripo Kau - $3,038,869.37
Learn more about He Ripo Kau
Te Kawa Waiora - $341,495.00
Learn more about Te Kawa Waiora.
Mangakāhia/Whatitiri - $10,000
The development of a third tapere initiative, Mangakāhia/Whatitiri, has been in progress for over a year, making great strides and receiving positive feedback within the community. Now in the final vision-setting stage with the community, we can’t wait to see this tapere’s ecological aspirations come to fruition!
*Initiative financials below represent actual contract funding received during the period 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2019.
He Ripo Kau - $186,280.82
- Community Environment Fund, Northland Regional Council, Te Puni Kokiri
Te Kawa Waiora - $19,431.42
- Northland Regional Council
*Initiative financials below represent actual contract funding received during the period 1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020.
He Ripo Kau - $1,781,311.70
- Kānoa - RDU (formerly PDU), Community Environment Fund, Northland Regional Council, Te Puni Kokiri, Ministry of Social Development.
Te Kawa Waiora - $235,713.58
- Northland Regional Council
*Initiative financials below represent actual contract funding received during the period 1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021.
He Ripo Kau - $1,071,276.85
- Kānoa - RDU (formerly PDU), Community Environment Fund, Northland Regional Council
Te Kawa Waiora - $86,350.00
- Northland Regional Council
Mangakāhia/Whatitiri - $10,000
- Northland Regional Council
Annual snapshot of Reconnecting Northland's programme and initiative outputs over the period 1 July 2020 - 30 June 2021.
Hui wānanga held
Community invite hui
Attendees at RN facilitated hui
Contracts for service awarded attributable to initiatives
Training courses provided
Initiative funding secured
Km of riparian fencing
Ha of revegetation
“Working on the PGF project (as part of He Ripo Kau), Reconnecting Northland has shared practical knowledge about the environmental sector and helped with operations as a whole, like managing staff, legal obligations as a contracting business and templates for running a business.
The kaimahi are developing new skills, they’re hungry for learning and bettering themselves. I’m happy with the training they have attained through the project. Having these certificates has made it easier to get contracts with other agencies, like DOC. And for the staff that move on from AOC (All Out Contracting) after the project, they now have relevant certificates that will help them get jobs with other organisations.”
- Storm Tautari, All Out Contracting - Owner
"Reconnecting Northland’s support allowed the community to really think about key issues and get a plan in place. For many years we didn't know where to start. Reconnecting Northland made things easier by being more structured and putting tangible plans in place and provided a launch platform for work to move into next stages. It’s been a positive impact on the community with things starting to happen rather than just thinking or talking about it. Having resources for coordination roles was critical, as this allowed someone to put some action to the work.
Reconnecting Northland helped by providing support, and the assurance that we are not alone. They connected us with numerous groups that support what we want to do and helped us to overcome barriers.
We have a vision to do positive things on our land, and after dairy farming for the last 40 years our aspiration is to regenerate it and look for other land use options. Within He Ripo Kau we want to be a whenua model to show other landowners what can be done and show communities how it can be done."
- Jeanaven Ahmu-Hotere, Otaua
"Reconnecting Northland holds a unique place without any baggage, they can have conversations with communities that DOC can’t have, because they’re not seen as a government organization, and are then able to translate that into both the strategic and operational, that lets us see and contribute to those communities and the work that we do.
We need the likes of Reconnecting Northland because it's hard to influence those things from the inside. But an external body with good capabilities, strategic capability can describe and influence that system in a different way. And I think that that's a real strength and opportunity for Reconnecting Northland.
Reconnecting Northland is inspiring and enabling change for the better."
- Sue Reed-Thomas, Department of Conservation
“Reconnecting Northland is actively linking groups and projects together, and by taking the initiative to set up hui, have helped to break down some of the communication barriers. Now people meet up and network. The work of Reconnecting Northland is well known and builds community awareness about how groups can work together and support each other, providing useful leadership.
Reconnecting Northland made things easier with access to information and expert advice. They supported us with documentation like contract templates, SOPs, and letters of support for funding. They acted as a liaison between HHC and other organisations, running community meetings, and networking between stakeholders, landowners and hapū, all with a focus on the big picture.
Reconnecting Northland’s work has helped grow a positive attitude towards collaboration and connectivity. There is a greater awareness of the issues people want to solve. Reconnecting Northland has taken people out of working in isolation, and they are now working together more.
It’s really great to have them out there doing this work, helping to pull things together. It’s hard to navigate all the different politics, and Reconnecting Northland being an intermediary is really useful for community conservation.
I don't think HHC would be where they are now without Reconnecting Northland being in the background.”
- Olly Knox, Hokianga Harbour Care
"Reconnecting Northland and the PGF have given me the opportunity to work full-time locally. I’ve become qualified in stuff that’s gonna help me pursue my goals to work locally and environmentally forever. I got a promotion from AOC and now I’m 2IC.
I’ve been able to help family with money problems. Being employed and doing the training has helped me figure out what I wanted to do in life. For example, with good fitness and mental wellbeing I can support my family.
The money and the qualifications as well as the time spent working and learning good habits from Storm has helped me achieve my goals."
- Kauri Wynyard, All Out Contracting - Kaimahi
"It was important to have an organisation like Reconnecting Northland at the tepu within our partnership, that has the skills and relationships to bring in people who can navigate the space with whanau, hapū and marae and bring their korero together for Te Kawa Waiora."
- Anahita Djamali, Northland Regional Council
"Reconnecting Northland has made things easier for the Whitebait Connection by fast tracking relationship building, which can take a really long time. Reconnecting Northland has done the work already so coming in with them helps to break down barriers. Using their connections has helped us make contact with the right people in the right places, which has supported our goal of empowering others through undertaking citizen science and restoration action. We can see there are a lot of synergies and opportunities to work together in the future
Reconnecting Northland works strategically and authentically in areas throughout Northland, taking the time needed to achieve results that last, and creating a mosaic of projects that will be connected up one day. It’s a great vision."
- Kim Jones, Whitebait Connection
“As facilitators, Reconnecting Northland have been great. It's important to have people that can walk in all sorts of different areas and arenas and get on with people. To understand and have compassion and empathy for where those people are coming from too, because you're dealing with a whole lot of personalities. The fact that you can be part of the community and be welcomed into the community, that’s massive, you know.
Reconnecting Northland is facilitating ownership - you encourage the community to grow, to do it themselves. That's the important thing, people have got to feel as though they're responsible for it in the future. It's no use coming in and doing it all for them. They've got to feel as though it’s theirs.”
- Sean Brickland & Melanie Haycock, Mangakāhia/Whatitiri
Reconnecting Northland provides a better path for Māori communities, and particularly hapū that want to do more and have trouble connecting with agencies.
It's such an X-factor thing for us to have an entity like Reconnecting Northland in the region, which can leverage independent wealth into the region, and importantly, relationships with agencies and entities that we don't really connect with in our business.
Reconnecting Northland is an entity that is focused on working in a way to bridge the gaps between hapū, council and other entities, and that's always going to be helpful in the environmental space.
- Don McKenzie, Northland Regional Council
"Reconnecting Northland supported me in my decisions and didn't say what to do or what not to do so didn't have influence over the plan, so the final plan reflected the community's wishes. They supported me all the way through, by never limiting me, always lifting me up and having belief in me.
They helped to clarify what the data I collected meant and separated it into different categories so I could see the big picture.
Having a Māori boss at the top, who speaks te reo and whakapapa to here really helps to get people to listen. Eamon can connect at all levels, which really helps. When there were issues, Eamon came over and reassured people; it wasn't so much where he was from, but who he was, that reassured them.
Reconnecting Northland also supported me in running hui and exploring questions to get the right meaning behind what people were saying. They created a better environment to talk and didn't put parameters around what I could and couldn't do, so I had more freedom to be creative about how I could talk to people, say, at marae, on the side of the road - I could talk to anyone and everyone. People now have a better connection with each other, have built relationships and can call on each other.
A light has come on for people, they are able to dream more, and there is hope that there is a solution to their dreams and desires."
- Pettania Hohaia, Waimamaku
“Reconnecting Northland was really helpful in introducing us to the concept of the Mana Enhancing Agreement. That's something I want to move on going forward. It was also a really big support for Reconnecting Northland to run us through the tapere selection process that helped us to land on Mangakāhia.
I also like the thought leadership, because they've clearly thought deeply about a lot of these things. We can see the opportunities going forward, that will transcend beyond this project and into other projects.
The other thing I like is the use of technology, like the connection with Takiwa, meaning that’s less capability that we need. And that capability is around data sovereignty, taking it out of the hands of institutions.
Reconnecting Northland also had good networks in Mangakāhia, that was helpful. That engagement task is the hardest work of all. I mean, that's most probably most important work of all.”
- Peter Bruce-Iri, NorthTec
"Working with AOC has been good because of the regular money coming in for the last year or more. It has helped me to support my family.
The training and development has been good because of the tickets I’ve got, like chainsaw and spraying. I know how to keep myself safe and not cut my leg off.
It will be easier to have another job after this. I will have more options."
- Amorangi Ngakuru, All Out Contracting - Kaimahi
Ko Wairoa tangata e haere, Ko Wairoa ia e kore e haere
People of the Wairoa depart life, but the Wairoa current never leaves
Waima, Waitai, Waiora is a collective of seven Northland organisations, stakeholders and tangata whenua, established to tackle the issue of sedimentation that comes from the Wairoa River, the largest contributor of sedimentation to the Kaipara Harbour, with an objective to restore the health, wellness and mauri of the river.
As part of this partnership to date Reconnecting Northland has:
Te Kawa Waiora is a research project focused on the health and mauri of the Wairoa river and its tributaries, overseen by Reconnecting Northland, inspired and informed by the heads, hearts and rich history of the river's hau kainga. Through hui wānanga, kōrero, purākau and mōteatea, the awa's people have come together to discuss what a Mātauranga-based approach to governance and kaitiaki for the river might look like, and to record the ancient evidence and new thinking that signposts the next part of their journey.
The purpose of He Ripo Kau is to weave people together to achieve the HRK 100-year vision; a landscape of abundance, with bird-filled forests that stretch to the sea and clean clear waterways teeming with life. Where a tapestry of regenerative land use sustains people to live the lives they value.
He Ripo Kau has also been supported by a 2-year Kānoa-RDU project ‘Clean Clear Water’, which has brought in an additional $3.2million to conduct 75km of riparian fencing and 75ha of riparian planting on the Whirinaki and Waimamaku Rivers.
Te Kete Hononga is Reconnecting Northland’s core service-based offering. Its primary aim is to streamline access to the ‘know how’ required to achieve and scale up conservation efforts in Northland. This will be achieved through the delivery of targeted ecological tools, services, and resources to community groups, via on the ground relationships with our Connectivity Activators.
Unlike traditional training and compliance models, Te Kete Hononga has been developed in direct response to community needs, creating a tailored approach to connect communities to the providers, courses, and resources they need.
The training and development programme, piloted through the PGF Clean Clear Water initiative, has been a breakthrough for Te Kete Hononga and what it can do in action. Through a programme tailored around the participant’s needs, the crew have worked hard to obtain the specific skills, experience and qualifications they need to build their careers in the environmental sector.
We bring communities, agencies and resources together to support thriving ecosystems across Northland.
Reconnecting Northland is a connectivity conservation programme, which put simply, acknowledges that nature is better when connected. We recognise that habitats and species function best as part of a large, interconnected network that also sustains the livelihoods of people. Our programme and vision are focused on intergenerational ecological impact and delivering sustainable change across the four wellbeings; social, cultural, economic, and environmental.
Saving nature is a human enterprise and this is reflected in Reconnecting Northland’s focus on building lasting capability through employment, training, skills, and development. To grow biodiversity and see Northland as a flourishing tapestry of resilient and abundant ecosystems, we must first address the systemic issues. Reconnecting Northland creates opportunities to empower communities to achieve their ecological restoration aspirations for generations to come. We support the formation of community collectives, called tapere to achieve landscape scale change and facilitate the development of collective vision and action.
Reconnecting Northland, in partnership with two of the world’s leading connectivity conservation programmes, Gondwana Link and Great Eastern Ranges, formed a new network to grow and share knowledge – Conservation Across Large Landscapes Australia New Zealand (CALLANZ).
The CALLANZ network this year launched a three-part webinar series, the Art of Connecting, to highlight connectivity conservation as a response to climate change, with each webinar featuring a panel of key ecological experts and practitioners. With both Australian and New Zealand’s international borders shut, the series created an opportunity to continue conversations on critical issues like ecological fragmentation and climate change.
Reconnecting Northland’s Eamon Nathan and Celia Witehira each presented in webinars across the three-part series. Trustee Justine Daw was MC for the final event with all three CEOs from the CALLANZ partner organisations presenting to wrap up the series.
Feedback from attendees and speakers alike has been hugely positive with high levels of interest by the audience in sustainable resourcing and further webinars.
Overall, the series had a combined total of 334 live viewers across at least 10 countries, and the recordings have been viewed on YouTube more than 445 times to date.
Check out the Art of Connecting 2021 webinar recordings below.
Reconnecting Northland, like most organisations in Aotearoa and around the world, has been significantly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. With so much of our work taking place with communities, in their places, we have had to transform and rethink the way we work to maintain these connections through the further fragmentation caused by both national and local lockdowns.
We know that our foresight now is crucial in positioning ourselves and our communities for success in a post-pandemic world. A challenge we’re ready to tackle as we strive to continue supporting Te Taitokerau communities in achieving their ecological aspirations.
In anticipation of operating in a covid landscape for the foreseeable future, we are actively working to build community resilience, independence and autonomy and ensuring resources are channeled to the right places to achieve the greatest outcomes and impact for the communities we support.
Mana Enhancing Agreement (MEA) - An agreement based on the shared principles and values of the parties. Created on a basis of mana through a collaborative workshop as opposed to a templated contractual document.
Connectivity Activator - Our community relationship builders and coordinators. Connectivity Activators work closely with groups undertaking environmental work, by facilitating hui within communities to define their vision, as well as identifying their needs and how these may be met through accessing the tools, services and resources available in Te Kete Hononga.
Te Kete Hononga - Te Kete Hononga is an integrated model that facilitates access to the products, services and resources needed to build lasting capability to deliver environmental projects. This is a unique model that addresses the gaps and limitations in the existing approach to supporting community-based environmental action.
Tapere - A collective of community groups' self defined geographic area
Vision Document - A document depicting the environmental aspects of a community's collective vision for their future. These vision documents span a three-generation timeframe to fully capture the community ambitions.
Connectivity Plan - A collaborative plan written by the groups within a tapere which outlines the short- and long-term goals and outcomes required to achieve the vision.
Project Plan - A local or catchment-based plan which outlines the operational detail of how a group or groups will contribute to achieving the connectivity plan and overall tapere vision, as well as meeting local aspirations.
Thank you for joining us in this celebration of progress toward our vision that in three generations, Northland is a flourishing tapestry of abundant and resilient ecosystems. The initiatives we have shared are collaborative and innovative in their approach to tackling some of Northland’s greatest issues through community-led action. We couldn’t be prouder to support their mahi.
There is still work to be done, finding solutions to local issues in the wisdom of the past. But we are encouraged by the ambitions and actions of communities across the region as we work together to reconnect disconnected ecosystems and human lives.
When we talk of our three-generation vision, we envision a day when our children’s children sit by pristine waterways, tamariki swim, and gather kai and drink water from the awa. Our communities gather seasonal food year-round, people are healthy, and local enterprise is flourishing. They will reflect and think back to their ancestors in the decade of the 2020s, and the wise and mindful way they turned their hearts and hands back to nature and life on earth.
In gratitude for all that has come before and all that is to come.
- The Reconnecting Northland Team
Thank you to our funders, partners, trustees, and all Reconnecting Northland communities and supporters. This year has tested us all, however together we rose to the challenge and continue to make a difference across Te Taitokerau and have made indisputable steps toward a more connected landscape.