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Manuel Tehira-McManus Springford | Te Rarawa Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tahu

Manuel Tehira-McManus Springford

As part of an ongoing journey into te ao Māori Manuel was able to utilise mātauranga and tikanga to help assist the trust to evolve the connection it has between tangata whenua and the environment. His involvement came about through a campaign to help revitalise Te Reo Māori and its use. Working with hapū and iwi especially around the wai is a big part of the ongoing mahi the trust is doing.

Manuel, along with others, is able to help tātai all these elements together to build and uphold the mana of Mountains to Sea Conservation trust and the mahi they are doing. 

Manuel’s 2021 letter as the Chair of Mountains to Sea

Kia ora koutou katoa,

Te mea tuatahi...

Firstly, a big heart felt mihi to all of our Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust whanau. Your tireless mahi dedication and effort have not gone UNNOTICED!

Kore te kupu

There are no words that can express the admiration and respect the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust has for you all. From our hearts to yours , thank you thank you thank you.

To all our partners and partnerships, we offer the same acknowledgement and thanks.

Naaku te rourou

Naau te rourou

Ka ora ai te taiao

With your basket and my basket the environment will thrive

Peehea nui

How big is big?

This is the crossroad that Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust has reached after 20 years of scrimping, saving, begging, borrowing, laughing, crying and loving for the taiao the environment. From the mountains to the sea and everything in between. Over this time, MTSCT Experiencing Marine Reserves and Whitebait Connection have grown and delivered successful programs, engagements and fulfilled contracts all over te motu, the country.  Snorkelling and kayak days, restoration, planting, monitoring, education, citizen science marine advocacy and the list goes on. To the point where we are forced to ask ourselves the question.

Peehea nui

How big is big?

Do we stay the same and operate as a well-oiled, consistent and manageable machine or shoot for the stars? Can we do both?

In the current climate the MTSCT machine has kept going despite an array of new challenges. The goalpost and balance seem to keep moving around environment and funding. One year the majority of funding will be given to our oceans, the next year it will be our rivers, forcing constant change reshuffling and thought processes throughout the organisation. Of all of whom are involved seem to take it in their stride. And one would be foolhardy to suggest that our Poutokomanawa could get away with wearing only one hat. As foundation members Samara Nicholas and Kim Jones have found out, and whom adorn many hats, and very successfully I may add. The intermittent lock-downs over the period have also had an effect on the organisation, it has made us think outside of the box, although I don’t think we were ever in a box to begin with. On reflection it has given te taiao the environment a well-earned break, which we must ensure flows on to our people. It is good to step back , reflect and charge our batteries every once in a while.

Hokia ki toou maunga kia urea ai koe

Ki ngaa hou o Taawhirimaatea

Return to your ancestral mountains to be cleansed by the wind of Taawhirimaatea

(Hau is a means of replenishing oneself spiritually, emotionally and mentally.)

One of the things that has come to light, from the sometimes-overwhelming workload involved with MTSCT. Is the fact we need to look not only after the environment but ourselves and others. Sometimes a simple phone call, message or acknowledgement can suffice.

E aha te mea nui o tea ao?


He tangata

What is the greatest thing?

It is the people

With that in mind, taking the support and love from everyone involved in Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust past and present, supporters and whanau.

I think the answer to the question

Peehea nui?

How big is big ?

Is up to us and we can confidently take any path of the crossroad of which we decide, and we hope you will all come along for the ride.

Whakamana te maunga

Whakamana te wai

He maauri o ngaa tangata

Ngaa mea katoa he pai

If we look after the water from the mountains to the sea.

It will look after us.

It is our life force.

Nga mihi nui kia koutou katoa


Manuel Springford

2021 Chair of the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust

Read the Annual Report here

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