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The story behind the names
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Hereke Ethel Jenkins
Born on the Chatham Islands as a native Māori speaker, in a family that adhered to old Māori customs, Hereke was raised in a harsh and rugged environment that produced survivors. Her genealogy and land ownership interests provided strong links for her to the Kāpiti Coast and when she married George Jenkins of Waikanae, her life would be committed to the local Marae, Whakarongotai.

This commitment was one of complete dedication and through it, she worked very closely with local politicians and local government councillors to further community development initiatives supported by the marae and its people. Her goal was to bring the community closer to, if not into, the marae, to foster enduring positive relations between tangata whenua and all who may be unaware of what Māori is. In particular, she worked with MP Margaret Shields and local councilor Raukura Leather, whose stone memorial rests at Otaihanga Domain near where she lived.

Some of her initiatives included work schemes for unemployed and Te Reo Māori education night classes following the Ataarangi method. Once achievement she most treasured was the creation of the Kāpiti Weavers Trust which operated out of a shed at the back of the old community centre on Hinemoa Street in Paraparaumu. This was the first of its kind in the region.

Through this, she helped to bring back to the region authentic techniques for Maori weaving and the best varieties of Harakeke (flax) from all around the country. This Trust was formed with an idea of preservation of the old as cultural knowledge tools for the future. The legacy of this trust serves as an inspiration for many younger weavers in the Kāpiti Coast area today. In her later years, Hereke was honoured with a Queens Service Medal (QSM) for her services to the community.

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Mirek Smíšek
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1925, Mirek was a potter. He moved to New Zealand in 1951, having spent much of WWII in labour camps and fleeing Europe in 1948. Mirek worked at Crown Lynn Potteries in Auckland where he created the “Bohemia Ware” line in manganese slip glaze before moving to Nelson in 1957. It was there he established a pottery studio and became New Zealand’s first full-time studio potter. In 1968 he moved to the Kāpiti Coast and established three potteries.
His studio pottery was largely salt-glazed which reflects his interest in local clays, glaze treatments and cultural traditions. In 1990, Mirek was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to pottery and in 2011, he received the Gratis Agit award from the Czech government for promoting the Czech Republic overseas.

If you want to learn more about Mirek – head over to the Wikipedia page here , or his extensive work showcased at Te Papa here

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Te Ara Kawakahia
The Ngārara Development contains the largest single remaining area of freshwater wetland on private land in the Lower North Island, Kawakahia wetland. It features a highly diverse mix of vegetation types including one of the few remaining examples of lowland podocarp forest on sandplains in the region.

The wetland has been recognized by the Wellington Regional Council as of particular significance under the Key Native Ecosystems Programme since it represents the largest interdunal swamp remnant in the region. The majority of this wetland has been formally protected (under a QEII covenant) by the Smith Family for many years before they agreed to develop the land.

The Family has worked with the Regional Council to manage plant and animal pest species within the wetland and have seen significant changes in wetland regeneration. The wetland is seen as a significant ecological asset for the development, with the potential to support increasing birdlife between Kāpiti Island, Nga Manu and Hemi Matenga. There are also a number of rare wetland bird species such as the Australasian Bittern that are specific to this wetland.

If you want to  read more about street names for the Waimeha Village click here

If you are interested in the Ngārara Story, a blog where we share our vision, click here

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