For Maniapoto, repo (wetlands) are highly valued as a traditional resource and are an integral component of the ancestral landscape. With only 10% of repo remaining in the Waikato, repo loss and the associated loss of resources and knowledge is a distinct issue for Ngāti Maniapoto.
New Zealand’s freshwater and estuarine resources provide significant cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits. Competition for the use of these resources is intensifying, and many rivers, lakes and estuaries are now degraded. Māori are particularly sensitive to the use and development of freshwater, and hold distinct perspectives concerning their identity, knowledge, and custodial obligations to manage tribal waters.
Māori communities around the country note that the abundance, size and/or distribution of tuna, kōura and kāeo/kākahi is declining and that current populations aren’t sufficient to meet their needs. Māori communities must be actively involved in the sustainable management of these species so their importance is recognised and prioritised in co-management, monitoring and restoration approaches.
Many of New Zealand's aquatic ecosystems, and their services, are in a degraded and often worsening state. NIWA is involved in research and consultation' aimed at improving the health of our freshwater systems.
Gathering, eating and sharing wild kai (food) has always been a very important part of Māori culture and wellbeing - this research project aimed to characterise the risks associated with consuming kai collected from rivers, lakes and coastlines.
Ngā Waihotanga Iho, the estuarine monitoring toolkit for Iwi, has been developed to provide tangata whenua with tools to measure environmental changes in their estuaries. While Ngā Waihotanga Iho is based on sound science principles, it is also underpinned by tangata whenua values.
Using a collaborative case study approach, the aim of this project is to assist tangata whenua to bring together different, yet complementary knowledge systems - distinct Māori knowledge and conventional fisheries and ecosystem information.