Meet the Board
Rynee de Garnham
Seeing kakī released into the wild for the first time had a significant impact on Rynee de Garnham. Now, as a rūnaka observer on the board she is excited about the opportunities to help her people engage more in the whenua and with Te Manahuna Aoraki Project.
Rynee has whakapapa to Waihao, Arowhenua, and Moeraki rūnaka and grew up in Timaru from the age of eight, regularly holidaying in Te Manahuna.
While she has always been interested in the environment it was watching the kakī release in 2018 that sparked something in her. Through her work as a teacher aide she arranged for students at Arowhenua Māori School (where one of her tūpuna was the first ever pupil) to view the kakī releases, along with whānau from Waihao marae.
The school now attends releases every year and Rynee believes it is only by seeing taonga species like kakī, and hearing the story of how close they came to extinction, that rangatahi can understand how quickly something can be lost, and how you can work to save them. She has obiously inspired her own children, with one daughter now set on becoming a DOC ranger in Twizel.
Since that first kakī release Rynee has seen first hand what large scale conservation projects can achieve after visiting fellow project Taranaki Mounga and she is excited about the opportunities for whānau to reconnect with the environment through the project. She is also the Ngāi Tahu representative on the Kakī Recovery Programme and spends a significant amount of her time helping whānau through Waihao marae.