New Zealand – Australia Exchange

In late May 2013 the Yalata rangers from South Australia welcomed counterparts from New Zealand for a WIN land and sea manager’s exchange. While here the rangers traced the steps of the original Indigenous people from Yalata up to Ooldea, Maralinga and back to the Great Australian Bight.

The exchange participants then traveled onto the WIN Conference in Darwin. This exchange would not be possible without the support of Parks Forum.

Special message from Matapura Ellison who’s attending the exchange

Aoraki te mauka
Aoraki is my mountain

Waitaki te awa
Waitaki is my river

Araiteuru te whenua
Araiteuru is the name of the land

Puketeraki me Ōtākou ka marae
Puketeraki and Ōtākou are my marae

Kāi Tahu te iwi
Kāi Tahu is the tribe

Ko te tuatahi me mihi atu ki a rātou kua wheturakitia, kua haere ki tua o te ārai, ki a rātou e tatari ana kai muri i te tatau pounamu o te pō. Kati rā.
Firstly, we should greet those who have become stars (in the sky), who have gone to the other side, to those waiting behind the greenstone door of the night. Finish!

Kai ruka te marumaru o te Kaihanga i ruka rawa, Ki a Papatūānuku i raro, a, Raki i ruka, tēnā kōrua.
Under the shelter of the Creator up on high, to Papatūānuku the earth mother below and Raki, the sky father above, good day to you both.

No reira, rau rakatira mā, tēnā rā koutou katoa.
Therefore, to the multitude of chiefs, good day to you all

Nāhaku noa,
Nā Matapura Ellison

A little bit about Matapura

My name is Matapura Ellison and I live in a small coastal village in East Otago, South Island, New Zealand. I am very excited about participating in this Indigineous Ranger Exchange and Conference.


I am Chairperson of our hapū based community Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and Kaiwhakahaere/Convenor of our environmental committee Kaupapa Taiao. I also represent our community as Representative to our Iwi/tribal Authority Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. We have a passionate belief in the responsibilities inherent within the concept of kaitiakitanga/traditional guardianship. Our tribal Authority is generating increasing resources which we are devoting into what you can generally call environmental responses which align with our tribal and hapū philosophies.

I am looking forward to experiencing and gaining some insight how Australian indigineous communities have responded within their takiwā/tribal districts and given voice to their desires and aspirations. The opportunity to mix with others from Aotearoa (New Zealand) is also valued.

Other rangers participating in the exchange

  • Denis Peters
  • Kara Edwards
  • Raphihana Hawaikirangi (also known as TK)
  • Whakarae Henare

( pictured from left to right)


 A few words from TK ahead of the Exchange

I am looking forward to the indigenous ranger exchange to meet the Aboriginal rangers and their people. To get out and see the different ecosystems Australia has to offer and how they are protected. I am curious on how it compares to what we do in N.Z, hopefully we pick up a few new tricks along the way and vice versa. I am positive we can benefit from an exchange of knowledge of the environment and discuss similar issues that we may be facing.

The indigenous conference will be awesome for networking, meeting new people and their cultures, along with the discussions and presentations that go with it.

I’m excited and stoked to be coming along for what I think will be an unforgettable experience.

About the Yalata Indigenous Protected Area

Lying at the edge of the Great Victoria Desert on the southern margin of Australia’s majestic Nullarbor Plain, Yalata Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) covers 456,300 hectares of coastal dunes, limestone cliffs, sand plains and shrublands. It was declared in October 1999.

Originally occupied by Wirangu and Mirning coastal communities, Yalata’s Traditional Owners also comprise Kokata, Antakarinja, Pindiini, and Ngalea western desert peoples. These groups are linked through cultural affiliations and traditional practices. The Yalata community identify as southern Anangu, and speak a Pitjantjatjara dialect. Owned by the South Australian Aboriginal Lands Trust, and leased by the Yalata Community Council, the IPA is managed by the Yalata Community.

Anangu live mainly in the small township of Yalata, and use the land for hunting and fishing, and for cultural purposes. Archaeological dating of cultural sites shows that Aboriginal people have lived in the Nullarbor area for at least 40,000 years.
Surrounded by national parks and reserves, and the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, Yalata forms part of a wider region identified for conservation purposes. Yalata protects large areas of native vegetation that remain uncleared, and it is part of one of the largest patches of mallee in the country.

Around 20,000 people visit Yalata each year to fish, camp and watch the migration of southern-right whales which arrive from Antarctica between June and October.


Such large numbers of visitors put pressure on the environment, particularly on the fragile dune systems. Environmental management and conservation activities performed by Anangu rangers help to alleviate these impacts. Important breeding grounds for whales and fish are being protected and managed, and viewing platforms and boardwalks have been constructed to protect dunes and beach areas from erosion.

Yalata’s coastal environment is also being stabilised through revegetation, achieved by seed collection and propagation of local species. Highly invasive boxthorn is being removed and feral animal control work is underway. These cause the loss of native animal habitats and reduce the levels of biodiversity on Yalata, and are the focus of a wider invasive species management strategy.


Please click here for more information about the Australian Government’s Indigenous Protected Area program.

About Parks Forum Ltd

Parks Forum is the peak body for park management organisations in Australia and New Zealand, with a number of additional affiliate organisations internationally. It exists to enhance and increase knowledge of the vital range of environment, social and economic benefits that parks provide to the community and to support best practice in parks management.

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