Local woman Di Buchan is on a mission. She, along with support from her late husband Michael Moriaty, has set up an environmental trust. Michael was able to help with the Terms of Reference and the objectives before he died suddenly last year. She says “I was motivated by a belief that with the right support, little by little, we can heal our waterways and our soils and our forests. This work is essential if future generations are to experience a quality of life comparable (and hopefully better) to that which we have now.” The Di Buchan Environment Trust now has its roots firmly in Otaki working locally with our schools. It was a presentation by the pupils at Waitohu School to them both which crystallised their ideas and she thought this is how I can help, working with schools to add financial support to their own ideas.
While the environment is her focus now, she works in the specialised fields of social research, social impact assessment, community consultation and facilitation along with her work as a Resource Consent Commissioner. This work has taken her throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It was doing this work that she saw how things can be achieved by working together, sharing knowledge, resources and enthusiasm. Little by little things can change for the better. The sale of her Wellington home and a move to Otaki meant money was available to support her dream.
The Trust exists to raise awareness about what is causing environmental damage and how best to fix it. To this end the Trustees particularly want to work with landowners developing new, less damaging land-use practices and with students, especially those from low-decile schools, and with poorly resourced communities who might otherwise struggle to access the funding, knowledge and networks, to undertake projects aimed at environmental restoration. The trustees themselves are spread throughout New Zealand so their focus is wide with national appeal. At their annual meeting earlier this year the trustees inspected the degradation of the Rangiuru Stream and made a resolution to find ways of working with the local community and schools if any showed willing to engage. The Greater Wellington Regional Council has offered to work with the trust on this issue.
The Trust is committed to inspiring and supporting education, research and best practice that will contribute to the enhancement of the New Zealand environment and its management. It will do this by promoting cooperation among organisations and agencies involved in environmental restoration and management. It will encourage and assist students, researchers and landowners, by supporting projects and initiatives which will enhance understanding of environmental issues and strategies contributing to best practice in environmental management and stewardship. In addition it will provide funding for school projects designed to teach students about environmental issues and to foster knowledge about how to protect and enhance our natural resources.
By Ann Chapman