Tipu Waiāriki is led by Gregg Brown, a well-known local restauranteur and community leader in Rotorua who previously founded and chaired Rotorua Trails Trust. He owns a small Lake Okareka farm and is passionate about healing the land to cleanse the water. His frustration with the slow progress of planting in the Rotorua lakes catchment inspired him to bring together some key people to form a community nursery that will rely on eco-sourced plants, be nurtured by an at-risk Māori youth programme, and is underpinned by Te Arawa values of manaaki, mātauranga and aroha. The goal of Tipu Waiāriki is to reconnect whenua to tangata: to cleanse both waimāori (living waters) and the wairua (spiritual essence) of our at-risk descendants. The tangata intersection with whenua by planting local endemic natives provides the requisite rongoā desperately required to heal and restore mauri (energy balance) as it flows from source springs into our lakes down rivers like the Kaituna through wetlands of the Maketū estuary and out to sea.
Gregg’s vision has pulled together a team focussed on weaving a new korowai (cloak) that can heal and protect the whenua of Papatuanuku for future generations. This team comprises deep knowledge holders (mohiotanga & science) from both sides of the treaty who are giving generously of their time, resources, land and wisdom, including a Māori land trust, Rotorua Lakes Council and a constellation of passionate locals and funders.