At the end of 2012, the Landscape Connections Trust (LCT) held preliminary conversations with a number of agencies and landowners, to explore the enthusiasm and opportunity to work with the East Otago community to develop a biodiversity management strategy for the area.

In April 2013, the LCT submitted an application for project funding to the Biodiversity Advice Fund, administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). They gained approval from DOC to progress the project in November 2013.

Subsequently, the Beyond Orokonui Community Participation Group was formed and we have rūnaka representation on that group. Recently, we were given the opportunity to describe our cultural landscapes and showcase the wonderful work that we, the Taiāpure Management Committee, and River-Estuary Care have been doing. We did this at a recent Landscape and Biodiversity Forum, which was held on 2 August at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

The purpose of the forum was to hear about the ecological, cultural and heritage values that are of importance in this area, and to hear from the various landowners and management agencies, as well as Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka, as to what were priorities for biodiversity and conservation in East Otago.

Brendan Flack (Kāti Huirapa), Dan Pritchard (Taiāpure Committee), Patti Vanderburg (River-Estuary Care) and Chanel Phillips (Ki Uta Ki Tai Volunteer weeks), all took the stage and it was with pride that around 60 audience members were able to hear what the concept of tangatatiaki means to the rūnaka and how we have formed relationships with other local conservation groups and community members to achieve our goal of preserving our environment for our future generations.