The Ruamahanga Restoration Trust creates and supports educational conservation projects and activities that engage with schools and rural communities across the Wairarapa.
Our mission is to promote the restoration and protection of bio-diverse ecosystems that support indigenous flora and fauna within the Ruamahanga River catchment. As a registered charity, we support local schools and rural community groups with funding for restoration projects and educational activity projects that help deliver hands-on learning opportunities for students by connecting them with their waterways, wetlands, forests, and environmental heritage.
Our fundraising efforts offer benefits to schools with a focus on supporting ‘Schools Behind Our River’ environmental educational activities, establishing bird corridors along rivers and tributaries within the catchment, and inspiring future generations by raising awareness of what Nature can teach us.
Long-term, we aim to encourage locally inspired ideas and creative nature-based innovations that protect the biodiversity of our environment, create new jobs, and provide long-term sustainable opportunities for our local businesses and farming communities.
For us, this means starting with our Schools Behind Our River project to deliver hands-on learning opportunities for school students to embrace environmental conservation projects that connect local communities with the health of their river catchment, Maori heritage, and sustainable biodiversity goals. The Ruamahanga Restoration Trust embraces traditional values, mātauranga Māori, and sustainable farming practices while also encouraging an understanding of academic research, advanced sciences, and the use of new technologies as a means to reverse the effects of climate change and protect our natural environment for the future generations.
Conservation Award for Environmental Leadership
Introduced in 2022, the Ruamahanga Restoration Trust Conservation Award for Environmental Leadership is awarded to the student who best demonstrates leadership skills in conservation and environmental restoration within their school and local community.
The Ruamahanga Restoration Trust wants to use the award to help raise awareness around the need for youth to connect with nature, and to help protect the health and biodiversity of our waterways, forests, farms, wetlands, and indigenous wildlife. It is also our goal to help students to identify new career paths for themselves as guardians and caretakers of our environment for future generations.
Each award trophy is handmade by Masterton ceramic artist Sam Ludden and features a giant kōkopu mounted on recycled native timber base with the following whakatauki lasered onto one side, “Toitū te marae ō Tāne, Toitū te marae o Tangaroa, Toitū te tangata.” (if the forest and the ocean are strong, so too are the people). Twenty award trophies will be gifted to participating schools across the Wairarapa for presentation at annual prize giving ceremonies. The schools get to look after the trophies and the student receives an award certificate from the Ruamahanga Restoration Trust in acknowledgement of their achievement.