Campaigners honour volunteers who saved Whareoa Farm from developmentBy Alan Tristram
A group of well over 60 volunteers gathered on a hillside at Whareroa Farm, near Paekakariki, for the blessing of a unique stone cairn at the weekend.
The large stone cairn was blessed by Kapiti Kaumatua Don te Maipi, who led the procession round the cairn, before children unveiled the tarpaulin covering the site.
The cairn was built to honour the huge community effort which saved the former Landcorp farm from development.
Kapiti’s former mayor, Jenny Rowan, paid tribute to those who got the project off the ground — especially John Porter, who first alerted locals to the development plans, and the late Leon Kiel, the inspiration conservationist, landscape worker and musician who was always at the forefront of the campaign.
Rachel (at right, helping to unveil the cairn), who’s also a well-known band member, led the crowd in singing the Whareroa Song. Then the celebration cake was distributed with champagne; and three memorial totara trees were planted just above the site.
The whole event was organized by the Whareroa Guardians Community Trust, supported by Matt Barnett, a representative from DoC, which now administers the Whareroa farm park and the working Whareroa Farm.
After the blessing, the group made their way top the ‘Hub’ area on the new Te Kouka path, through the Te Kouka Stream plantings and past Matai Bush.
They enjoyed a special barbecue with music,guided walks, and games fro the children.
And at the end of the celebrations, as dusk fell, visitors were able to see glowworms at the end of the ‘Gum Track.’
It was an event which would have deeply moved the man whose vision was critical to the whole project — Leon Kiel, who died of cancer just a short time after Whareroa was saved.