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Trip Report - Tapu Te Ranga Marae Harvest Festival

Trip Report – 20–21 February 2010:   Tapu Te Ranga Marae Harvest Festival

Tony Druce
Tony Druce after planting a puriri at Tapu Te Ranga Marae, 1991.   Photo: Barbara Mitcalfe.
Several BotSoccers were welcomed among about a hundred other manuhiri, at Saturday’s powhiri which was held on the marae in glorious sunshine.   The festival was partly in honour of the Sisters of Compassion, who had “forgiven” the loan they originally gave the Trust to purchase adjacent land for the whare, and partly in honour of Sir Michael Fowler who was instrumental in getting the marae established in the 1980s.   From his wheelchair, kaumatua Bruce Stewart paid a tribute to the Sisters and to Sir Michael.

Bruce’s passion for indigenous NZ plants was very much in evidence on the marae.   Beside us were native plants of threatened status such as Charmichaelia stevensonii, and on the bank was a Chatham Island nikau / Rhopalostylis aff. sapida with a fan of flower buds uncurling near ground level, and several Hebe elliptica.   After setting up the BotSoc display board, several of us went around the back of the whare to look at the Far North planting, where Pouzolzia (Boehmeria) australis, Tecomanthe speciosa, Pisonia brunoniana, Pennantia baylisiana, Elingamita johnsonii, Streblus smithii and Pouteria costata were flourishing.   Also flourishing was the puriri / Vitex lucens, planted by Tony Druce in July 1992 when about 20 of us BotSoccers were on a noho marae / workbee there.   The puriri is now c. 6m tall, and the tecomanthe in the background completely smothers the fence.   Later a group of us walked up the hill, through the now fully grown Wellington tree species we had planted as seedlings in the 1990s as part of the marae’s Manawa Karioi restoration programme.   (See front panel of newsletter).   Finally we checked the four surviving, northern rata we planted a few years ago beside the southern entrance drive, flourishing despite their massively weedy site.

Participants :   Because there were hundreds of manuhiri there at different times of the day, I regret it was not possible to record the BotSoccers who did attend.

Barbara Mitcalfe, deputy leader.


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