The Wairarapa Connection

Turning the eyes of the community to Te Karu o te Ika a Māui by connecting back to nature

The mysteries of the Wairarapa would take a lifetime to discover because the land tells stories of past, present and signal warnings of the future. But what makes the Wairarapa truly unique is the network of veins created by Rūaumoko, the unborn child of Papatūānuku. Sitting on a subduction zone, the Wairarapa has been influenced by the rising and lowering of land. Unique features include spring fed streams, Onoke spit, the coast of Mataikona and the Huangarua Syncline to name a few.

Wairarapa Hīkoi Wahine Toa filmed by Paascalino Schaller, Dec 2021.

But, some may say that the heart and soul of the Wairarapa is Te Karu o te Ika a Māui or historically, Te Waha o te Ika because lake Wairarapa was an inland sea. Lake Onoke, Lake Wairarapa and the Ruamahanga River are collectively known as Wairarapa Moana and the focus for the students that participate in the Whitebait Connection Programme here in the Wairarapa.

Thanks to Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Jobs for Nature Fund, we are able to facilitate our freshwater programmes across the region, providing opportunities for the whole community here in the Wairarapa to spend time in nature and understand how we tie into our environment. We focus on education, connections, and empowering people to take action. Our conservation efforts extend from school ages right through to the adults who care about our catchments & volunteer their time to action restoration work.


In the beginning of 2021 we introduced a dedicated coordinator based in the Wairarapa and as she starts her journey with Mountains to Sea Wellington and discovers more of her backyard, she grows a stronger connection to Wairarapa Moana and yearns for her community to be at these special locations that were once important gathering places.

Check out our Facebook page to read more stories of the work we’ve been doing in the community across this amazing and precious landscape over the last year. If you want your school or community to participate in our freshwater programmes in the Wairarapa, please contact our coordinator Kara Kenny at kara.kenny@mtsw.org.nz.

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