Search for ‘Scrubcutting Men’ on Facebook and you’ll find some cool videos of a Porirua-based outfit doing outstanding mahi around our city.
Established by Kaisa Onosai in 2008, he and his two sons have contracts with organisations in Porirua to do tricky work, clearing and planting awkward hillsides and difficult gullies for more sustainable outcomes. And now they’re helping to repopulate fertile ground near our streams after winning a city contract.
Last year, the Council went out with a suite of tenders related to the riparian management programme, the ambitious plan of action to tackle the health of our waterways – especially Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour - by improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity. Much of this comes down to putting hundreds of thousands of plants in the ground around Porirua in the next 20 years.
Ngāti Toa, Greater Wellington, schools, and groups like Ngahere Korowai Collective have a big part to play when it comes to volunteer planting, ensuring there are legacy connections in every plant placed into the soil. But the Scrubcutting Men are also part of the conversation for while they’re being paid, that doesn’t lessen their impact and desire to also make a difference in the city they call home.
Kaisa sought advice about the tendering process and completing the necessary legal documents from a community group. He and his boys have never been shy about doing often complex work in problematic places and bad weather, but paperwork and tendering presented more challenges than taking out thorny scrub, Kaisa admits.
But they nailed it, and were awarded the contract – meaning two days a week, the Scrubcutting Men now work for Porirua City Council. This week it was just off Flightys Rd, next week it’ll be another site in Pāuatahanui. If you look at the videos on Facebook, there is a pride in the work – it’s not easy, but it’s important.
“I can look at a hillside and make a plan, that’s not hard for me,” Kaisa says. “But while we have done bits and pieces for Porirua City Council before, we wanted this [contract] so we could make things more permanent.
“It makes us happy to be doing this around Porirua – we work hard and we have a good feeling when a job is done.”
6 Jul 2023