Back in 1999, the community of Whirinaki in the Far North set out on a path towards a collective vision. Guided by kaumātua and kuia, the vision was born for the benefit of their mokopuna, and set in motion for generations to come.
The transformation which the Whirinaki Toiora Trust had envisaged, and which continues to drive their mahi, is all-embracing – grounded in the Māori values of whakapapa, kaitiakitanga and tino rangatiratanga. As tangata whenua this is not simply about advancing social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing for current and future generations. Ensuring cultural values and practices are honoured and preserved, including retaining elements unique to their corner of the Hokianga, is also fundamental to every task along the way.
Foundation North is proud to have contributed funding support (in 2017 and 2020), enabling Whirinaki Toiora Trust to build on community-led development work achieved over a number of years, and to focus on coordinating and managing their Community Plan for 2020 and beyond.
This digital story has been made in collaboration with Whirinaki Toiora trustees and staff, with input from other funders and stakeholders, and of course, the community of Whirinaki. Leading the narrative, in te reo Māori, is former trustee Matua Hirini Wikaira (who sadly passed away in October 2020) and Matua Bill Rawiri, former Trust Manager, who recounts many of the successful kaupapa undertaken to date.
We are extremely grateful to Foundation North’s kaumātua Kevin Prime for providing the poroporoaki in the video, as well as translating into English the kōrero of Matua Hirini Wikaira.