May 17, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Establishing a Cultural Framework to restore and protect the Waikato River

3 min read

The Te Arawa River Iwi Trust is inviting all descendants of Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao and Ngati Kea-Ngati Tuara to attend a hui to be held at Te Pakira Marae Whakarewarewa on the 23 June at 10am.

This will be the first of a series of hui on environmental issues relating to the Waikato River (Te Arawa me te awa o Waikato). The Waikato River and its tributaries run through Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa; Ngati Kea- Ngati Tuara and Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao tribal rohe (Te Arawa River Iwi).

The aim of this hui and future hui is to provide information and to seek feedback from Iwi on issues such as:

  • Water quality, flow and quantity
  • Mahinga kai
  • Native flora and fauna
  • Fishing practises, customary and contemporary
  • Significant sites
  • Use of technology in environmental monitoring i.e. GIS and GPS
  • Koura and their habitat
  • Whakapapa, whenua and whanaungatanga
  • Current state of the awa and desired state

The feedback received at this initial hui will contribute to the development of various tools based on Maori knowledge and modern science to holistically assess the health and wellbeing of the river and its people.

The importance of Matauranga Maori to the restoration of the Waikato River is fundamental. It enhances and adds to developing and existing western environmental science and validates customary practises and knowledge such as; rahui to enable habitats and breeding areas to recover; native flora and how it can improve water quality; knowledge about the life-cycle and habitats of native fish species and how these are affected by foreign plants and foreign fish invertebrates and/or pollution.

Traditional lands and all of the natural resources are considered taonga and are integral to Te Arawa River Iwi tribal identities. It is essential that as River Iwi a cultural monitoring framework, based on traditional knowledge and modern science is established to affect the desired state of the awa.

As kaitiaki of their tribal rohe, TARIT affiliates require access and input into the provision of high quality environmental and cultural information to enable robust decision-making for the benefit of the Waikato River catchment and its people

The hui is a result of a successful funding application from Te Arawa River Iwi Trust to the Waikato River Authority.

Background to TARIT

Te Arawa River iwi Trust (TARIT) was established in May 2009 to act as a forum for iwi affiliates in the ground-breaking co-governance and co-management regime for the Waikato River. TARIT also works to assist the iwi affiliates to exercise their kaitiakitanga. The three iwi affiliates are:

  • Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa, whose tribal boundaries lie between Te Waiheke o Huka (Huka Falls) and Pohaturoa at Atiamuri and extends to the Kaingaroa Plains.
  • Tuhourangi, whose lands include the Rotomahana Parekarangi block and the important Whirinaki Stream
  • Ngati Kea Ngati Tuara, whose traditional lands include Horohoro with their principal waterway, the Pokaitu Stream just north of Pohaturoa, which runs into the Waikato River.

These Iwi own significant tracts of land within their tribal rohe which is primarily pastoral and dairy farming, forestry, (exotic and native) and geothermal energy production.
PH (07) 349 3234
FAX (07) 349 3239
8 Marguerita Street, Rotorua 3010

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