Taranaki farmers embrace Kiwi ingenuity and build pā to protect native seedlings

A Taranaki couple who felt compelled to learn Te Reo Māori have gone further, building a pā on their family farm.

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Damien and Jane Roper reckon it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done. Source: Seven Sharp

"I was becoming embarrassed I couldn't say the local names of our towns properly and I thought it's time to get on board," Jane Roper told Seven Sharp.

After learning te reo for the past year, Jane says the couple made time to study the language in order to better understand the culture.

"We've worked it into our time off the farm, and that in itself is a very good thing to be doing," Jane says.

But they found themselves falling in love with more than just the language.

"The Māori values towards the land are very much in line with ours, it's the whole package. It just felt right,” Jane’s husband Damian says.

They couple began propogating native seedlings, which needed a windbreak, so, they decided to build a pā.

"Yes, there was raised eyebrows," Damian says, including those of their fencing contractor, Colin Schrader.

"It's a little bit over the top,” Schrader says of his first thoughts.

"He [Damian] didn't have much idea on how to make it work," he says.

But it took some Kiwi ingenuity to make it happen.

"Damian had some trampoline springs for the clamps, I went to the local garage and got some motor mower wheels," Schrader says.

The project took six thousand screws and 2,500 posts.

"We followed all Māori protocol, and as we were building you could feel that mana growing. It was great," Damian says.