In the Bush with The Karioi Project

Between the curves of Karioi’s peaks and the crest of glass blown waves lies the heart of all we hold dear as residents of this town – a biodiverse sanctuary. However, said flora and fauna is indeed finite if conservation organisations did not exist to mitigate the detrimental effects of introduced plant and animal species on our landscape. 

Today we shine the spotlight on The Karioi Project, a Raglan based non-profit that works to restore the land’s ecological landscape and educate the local population on how to do so. The Karioi project provides a myriad of ways to get involved, from community wide volunteer opportunities to providing traps to set up in your own backyard. Christine, Mami, Walter and Summer let us peek into their mahi, and in this article we hear from Summer who started with Karioi Project last year, and Christine who has volunteered for over a decade! 

Q: What are the highlights of being part of the diverse volunteers at The Karioi Project? 

Summer: One of the main perks is getting to meet people who are from all different walks of life. Meeting them gives me huge inspiration to how I can live my life differently. I really love it when I get buddied-up with someone for volunteer work, and once we finish our task my perspective on something has completely changed just because of meeting this person. It’s a really beautiful experience. And also just the fact that I can connect with like-minded, interesting people where we can openly talk about anything. 

Christine: Doing a host of different activities in the open air with like-minded, energetic people

Q: What drew you to this work? 

Christine: I’ve always loved outside activities like tramping, bush walks, learning more about our flora and fauna, and now I have a dog, it’s a daily thing. Also, I have more time to give now that I’m no longer working in a job. 

Summer: I wasn’t truly passionate about anything I was learning at school, so I started to look elsewhere for that passion. I think on the Raglan Notice Board I saw a post from the Karioi Project and I realised that conservation could be an avenue I could go down. So I asked my gateway coordinator at school if she could mark me present while I volunteered over here in Raglan lol (she did luckily). During my first time volunteering on Karioi, I just felt so soulfully connected and at home. I realised that this is one of my passion projects, not just because it benefitted me, but also benefited te Taiao, and Karioi. My reason why I stick to it is because I know that we take so much from the natural world — we literally wouldn’t be able to survive without it — so why not take some time to give back to the Earth, as a gesture of appreciation of all she has done for us. Being in the bush is also like therapy for me, probably because it grounds me back into the present moment and into my body.

Q: What does the future hold for your team and your mahi at the Karioi Project? Are there any big dreams or goals you are working towards? 

Summer: I think it would be awesome to get more people involved with the Karioi Project. The main reason being that it is a great gateway for humans to deepen their connection with Mama Papatuanuku, and Te Taiao as a whole. To get people to realise that we aren’t separate from nature. That we need to start working in harmony with her, and not in a way that separates ourselves from our innate home where we can re-wild, reconnect with, and return to ourselves. I feel like I would like to start sharing this message with people in general, just casually in conversations, and in Divine timing. 

Christine: It would be great to have more people involved in pest control (both plant and animal), not only here in Raglan but throughout NZ. 

Q: How would you sum up your work with the Karioi Project in three words? 

Summer: fun, passion and connection 

Christine: Satisfying; Interesting; Enjoyable

by Katie Lowes and Kiri Spiotta

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