In 1974, Kaumatua Bruce Stewart bought a small block of land between Rhine Street and the hillside owned by the Sisters of Compassion to establish Tapu Te Ranga Marae.
The name of the Marae was taken from Tapu Te Ranga Island, the island from which the name Island Bay is derived.
Bruce’s dream was to create a community based on the principles of social and environmental justice. He and his supporters soon began planting native plants on the land.
By the late 1970s, Tapu Te Ranga Trust had been established and building construction was well underway and land purchased for the “bush and birds”
The original nursery of native plants at Tapu te Ranga Marae built in 1990's.
In 1987 the Sisters of Compassion asked Bruce if he would like to add the hillside and adjacent areas to the Marae and, if so, what it would be used for.
Bruce and others had already considered the idea of forest returning to the hillsides, so he promptly said that most of the land would be a “bush and bird reserve” and that marae facilities would be developed on the remaining portion.
The Sisters of Compassion enthusiastically supported this vision and arrangements were soon made for the Trust to purchase the land by way of regular payments.
In 1990 a public meeting was held to generate community support for the “bush and bird reserve” and the Manawa Karioi Society was formed to manage the project.
At a formal opening ceremony on 16 February 1991 the tapu was lifted and local MP Liz Tennet planted the first seedling
The hills were cleared for pasture in the 1800's now the hills are cloaked in trees again.
In June of 2017, kaumatua Bruce Stewart passed away His vision of a bush and bird reserve on Tapu te Ranga Marae land was a seed that grew into a thriving hillside of native trees, birds and lizards.
This 26-year-old restoration project is one of the oldest restoration projects in Wellington and many hands have planted the trees, weeded the gorse, cut the scrub, cleared the tracks, nurtured the seedlings and most importantly enjoyed seeing the forest and birds return over these years. Nga mihi nui e hoa, Bruce
Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui a Tāne.
Kaumatua Bruce Stewart and some keen volunteers at Manawa Karioi.
Manawa Karioi is run by the Manawa Karioi Society (a registered charitable trust) with the full support of Tapu te Ranga Marae and we work in direct consultation with the whanau.