Image of the January 2016 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
January 2016 Issue
Home / Articles / Wild People

Bringing tangata and whenua together

Craig Pauling plans to plant the Canterbury Plains, one green dot at a time.

Craig Pauling, connecting people with landscapes. By Jamie Stewart

Craig Pauling paddles waka ama regularly on the Ōtākaro/Avon River and Lyttelton Harbour. At his local club, Te Waka Pounamu, he shares his passion with the next generation. Sport, he says, can connect you to the environment.

Waka ama has many aspects: the cultural traditions, the social opportunities, the intense competition. Craig, 39, firmly believes the sport can provide a time to learn from and gain understanding of the natural world: “Most of my knowing of these places comes down to my paddling,” he says.

This knowledge, Craig has applied to a string of successful ventures that attempt to build deeper connections between people and landscapes. He was a co-founder and instructor of Aoraki Bound, the Ngāi Tahu/Outward Bound course that guides participants on a hīkoi through Ngāi Tahu landscapes and culture. He is one of the forces behind Te Ara Kākāriki, an innovative conservation group that seeks to restore nature on the Canterbury plains one ‘green dot’ at a time. And as a member of the Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) Management Board, he hopes to contribute to an increasing uptake in traditional mahinga kai practices at the lake – traditional food and natural resources endangered by the degradation of waterways.

The young man that returned from a stint volunteering with the kākāpō recovery programme on Whenua Ho/Codfish Island to the “melancholy” of the devastated, and relatively barren Canterbury landscape, is on a journey with his family and friends to bring back vibrant nature to the waterways and plains. “I want to see our native species flourish, not just hang on,” he says. “They are our tuakana (or older cousins), they were here first, we must respect that.”
– Jamie Stewart is an outdoors writer and advocate. He works for the Federated Mountain Clubs

For 29 years Wilderness has helped Kiwis get outside.

If you value our mission: to help you ‘see more, do more, live more’, then please consider subscribing.

Once you sign up, you can browse all web content including more than 610 trips. You’ll also receive our Wildcard, offering discounts at more than 20 partners throughout New Zealand.

Importanly, your subscription will ensure Wilderness will be there to inspire the next generation of outdoor Kiwis

Subscribe from as little as $7.00/month for instant access to all articles, trips, gear reviews and gear guides.

View all our subscription options and join the club.

Already a subscriber? Login Now.