First I’d like to recognize those in Northland who permitted their personal stories to be included in this project. The knowledge they shared provides the cultural context that anchors this text in human experience. To Kevin Prime, Charlie Dunn, Hori Parata, Kelly Kahukiwa, Erina Adams, Ana Bercich and Te Kaurinui Parata, ngā mihi nui koutou katoa. Our conversations were unstructured, informal and took place when the medium of this project was an experimental video series. Your words compelled me to produce this text and I appreciate the corrections you provided along the way and your acceptance of this capsule for your stories.
Thank you Hugh Hoagland for joining me in Northland with your splendidly antiquated camera equipment and sensitivities to the energetic pulsations of nature. Hugh, your openness to the organic flow of this project allowed me the space to make changes in medium and the critical reflections you shared during revisions, along with your photographs and design of our website, inspired nuance and beauty in this project.
To the well-respected kaumātua John Klaricich for meeting with me in the Hokianga Settlement near Omāpere to discuss the poetics of time, your kindness to my mother and continued correspondence, and to Lila Klaricich, for being the translator and transcriber of John’s thoughts, Ngā mihi nui ki a koe.
I also want to acknowledge the people that provided me and Hugh guidance while we undertook this project in Northland:
I’d like to first thank Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt for assuming a guiding role even before I arrived in New Zealand. Bronwyn, your enthusiasm and encouragement from our first email and phone exchanges led to continuous support during my and Hugh’s time in Northland. Whether it be connecting us to relevant community members, the warmth and bluntly delivered reality checks you provided regarding the “way things work” in Northland’s environmental and political realms, or the random acts of kindness you offered, having you as a point person was immeasurably important. Ngā mihi Rongo Bentson, the Kai Arataki Environmental Coordinator for Te Rarawa for your help during my introduction to Te Rarawa iwi, for physically getting us into the bush, for including me in Komiti Kaitiaki gatherings both professionally and socially, and for your consistent support once I left the country and began piecing this project together. Thank you to the Senior Community Ranger of the Kaitaia DOC office Doug Te Wake for aiding in my concession process and for providing the technical guidance for our tramps into the Warawara; co-producers and co-curators of The Kauri Project, Ariane Craig-Smith and Chris McBride, for sharing their artistic perspectives and for exposing me to your community engagement efforts; Reconnecting Northland staff Eamon Nathan, Celia Witehira and Sian Leith for speaking about RN’s organizational efforts and the need for creative approaches to environmental engagement and education and for the work you do each day; Margaret Prime for your hospitality in Mōtatau and insight on karakia; Conrad Marsh for the mythological and personal stories you shared; and Dariusz Andrzej Mikrut for that ride out of the bush.
Along with those I included in this text, there were a number of people who provided invaluable support to me and Hugh on the ground:
To the Dargaville Ward Councilor Karen Joyce and Community Ranger Jaime Clarkson of Te Tai Kauri (Kauri Coast) DOC office, who met with me kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) shortly after I arrived and whose comments made me realize that the inclusion of Māori voices must preempt and underscore any discussion of wildlife in the region: Your suggestions of further contacts in the region and invitation to the “night walk” at Trounson Kauri Park – at which I spent time with DOC and Te Roroa employees and first experienced their collaboration as stewards of the ngahere – helped set the inclusive tone of my stay and offered a time and space for invaluable introductions.
To the General Manager of Te Roroa Snow Tane, and the Tourism Manager of Te Roroa Heni Matiu (Jane Matthews) for meeting with me and approving the inclusion of the Waipoua ngahere and Te Roroa iwi in this project, thank you. To Heeni, ngā mihi nui ki a koe for the stories you shared with me over tea and biscuits about your life and the ways you care for your whanau and whenua and for allowing me and Hugh to spend those nights in the Waipoua Settlement up by the Pananawe marae. Our conversations helped me situate the historical context of Waipoua in relation to Warawara. Further, thank you to Te Roroa Group, the kaitiaki of Waipoua, for guarding and managing the forest and for educating visitors of its role in your history.
Thank you Abraham Witana, the Deputy Chairman for Waipuna marae in Pānguru, elected marae delegate to Te Rūnanga O Te Rarawa representing Waipuna whānau and hapū, and the Te Rarawa Iwi representative on Te Ahu Trust, for conducting the whakatau (the first step in the cultural process of my introduction to the Te Rarawa iwi) and subsequent introductions with the Warawara and hapū; and Conrad Smith, the representative of Ōhaki Marae for Komiti Kaitiaki, for facilitating my interaction with tangata whenua of Warawara and alerting the Komiti Kaitiaki of this project, thus permitting its association with the Warawara ngahere. Further, thank you to all members of the Komiti Kaitiaki that work to protect and maintain the ecological and spiritual health of Warawara for future generations.
Thank you to Community Ranger Clare Redward at the Pewhairangi (Bay of Islands) DOC office for reviewing my government concession and permit process to film on public land before the hand-off to Doug Te Wake. Thank you Ian Mitchell of the Kauri Dieback Programme for lending your insight into the colonial history of Northland and the pest management practices today. To Gary Bramley for assisting my outreach to the iwi of the Puketi ngahere by connecting me with Anna Anderson and Aggie Donnelly Wheoki of the Puketi marae and to Hana and Mita Harris for including me and Hugh in gatherings connected with the Rahiri marae, even after the iwi declined our inclusion of the Puketi ngahere in this project, ngā mihi koutou. The exclusion of that permission speaks greatly to the hurt and distrust that remains between iwi and the Crown and non-Māori actors when it comes to the protection of the spiritual and ecological health of the ngahere. Hugh and I are aware of and sensitive to this history and appreciate your kindness in welcoming us into your space and your willingness to maintain connection and invite us to community gatherings in lieu of that formal inclusion.
Madeline Halpern, March 2021