Deep in New Zealand’s vast Te Urewera forest, which is famously endowed with a legal personality, the Māori community in Ruatāhuna is working to restore and sustain its forests and way of life. Having regained control of their land after decades of logging by outside interests, members of the Tūhoe community are trying to bring back conifers in the Podocarpaceae family, which they refer to as the chiefs of the family of Tāne, the god of forests and birds. Other initiatives include controlling invasive species, developing a community-based forest monitoring system centered on traditional values and knowledge, establishing a “forest academy” for local youth, and setting up a profitable honey enterprise to provide jobs and eventually fund forest restoration. This is the first part of Mongabay’s three-part profile of the Ruatāhuna community’s effort to restore its ancestral forest. Links to other stories in this three-part profile of the Ruatāhuna community’s stewardship of its forest will appear here once they are published. RUATĀHUNA, New Zealand — It’s early morning in Ruatāhuna, a remote valley deep in the Te Urewera forest on New Zealand’s North Island. Puke Tīmoti and Hemiona Nuku are dragging a deer carcass down a steep hillside, ready […]

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