Symposium highlights Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

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The fifth Te Waihora Living Lake Symposium at Lincoln University will give participants the opportunity to learn much more about the science and work programmes currently underway to improve the health of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.

The 2015 symposium – Realising the Vision – the mountains to the sea ki uta
ki tai – is organised by Waihora Ellesmere Trust (WET) and begins at Lincoln University on Wednesday, 18 November. It will focus on what has been achieved in and around the lake including an overview of governance, management and updates on land, water, flora, fauna, recreation, the local economy and cultural health.

It is expected that attendees at this year’s symposium will develop a wider, overall understanding of how the lake functions, how people identify with it and value it; and how it can be cared for and celebrated by everyone.

The symposium theme, Realising the Vision – the mountains to the sea, is a reflection of the Ngāi Tahu tribal whakatauki, Ki uta ki tai – from the mountains to the sea, which reflects the Ngāi Tahu view of environmental and resource management. It is a traditional concept representing kaitiakitanga (guardianship) from the mountains and great inland lakes, down the rivers to hāpua/lagoons, wahapū/estuaries and to the sea. Kaitiakitanga reflects the special relationship Ngāi Tahu has with its environmental heritage. It is fundamental to the tribe’s culture and identity. Ki uta ki tai encapsulates the need to recognise and manage the interconnectedness of the whole environment, how people relate to it, and how it can best be looked after.

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The Living Lakes Symposium starts with a Wednesday field trip to Ngāti Moki Marae at Taumutu on the lake’s edge. Following a mihi whakatau, lunch participants will visit some of the practical projects underway around the lake.

On Thursday 19 November, experts from the Department of Conservation, Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Selwyn District Council, Lincoln University, NIWA, Birds NZ and other organisations will give presentations and answer questions.

Those attending this presentation day will receive a copy of the Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere State of the Lake 2015 report. The report covers a wide range and depth of information, building on the set of indicators that were reported against in 2013. Future
reporting will be guided by the recommendations in this document, to build a fuller picture of the lake. It’s a limited print run but the report, along with additional information and links will be available from the WET website after the symposium.