The People behind KMR
Katie Forno – KMR Field Advisor (Fencing and Planting) – The Forest Bridge Trust
Katie Forno believes the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme will contribute to cleaner fresh water, healthier ecosystems, and more awareness around sustainable farming practices.
Two years into working with KMR, Katie is enjoying her role and is happy to be a part of a unique initiative to restore the health and the mauri of the Kaipara Harbour.
“While I realise that I am but a small cog in a large engine of change, every little bit counts,” says Katie.
After growing up in Mahurangi and spending a decade living and working in different parts of Aotearoa and overseas, Katie now lives in Matakana Valley with her whānau, where she home schools her son while growing organic kai and exploring wild places every chance they get. Katie whakapapa’s to Tōrere on the East Cape.
She says key to her work with KMR is a combination of understanding the challenges faced by landowners, good communication, patience, resilience, optimism and mahitahitanga.
“It’s a kaupapa borne from the tangata of the Kaipara putting their pou in the ground and saying something needs to change. The moana is suffering and we need to work together to help it.
“It’s about all people of the Kaipara – tangata whenua, landowners, Council’s, NGO’s, schools, and normal everyday people joining together in a restoration project that will be generational. It’s going to be a long journey, and every completed fencing and or planting project gets us further along the road.”
Katie inspecting a very steep fence
As for her role as a Field Advisor?
“We help landowners to define and accomplish their aspirations for their properties, specifically by facilitating riparian fencing and planting. It is important to me because I feel like there is so much pressure on our environment and water is life.
Yet, so much of our fresh water and subsequently, our moana, is polluted and struggling. On the other hand, we need to eat, and farmers need to earn a living. My hope is that I can help landowners to help the earth and that it makes a difference to both.”
Along with fellow Forest Bridge Trust colleague Mandy Burnside, Katie works with numerous landowners and between them have several Sediment Reduction Plans underway at any one time.
Forest Bridge Trust helps connect farmers and landowners with funding (often sourced from multiple funding sources) to fence off waterways, wetlands and native bush in riparian areas. TFBT staff like Katie are approved Field Advisors for the KMR fund, where KMR landowner grant schemes target the reduction of sediment entering the Kaipara Harbour through contributions to the fencing and planting of waterways. For more information on the grants available visit. www.kmr.org.nz/grants-funding.
And if interested and if your waterways flow into the Kaipara Harbour, Katie would love to hear from you – just email her at email@example.com and she will help you get started!
The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. For more information: www.theforestbridgetrust.org.nz.
Interview by Steve Macmillon KMR