The concept of whakapapa binds Māori to the mountains, land, forests, and waters - all things have mauri, all things have the same origin. Accordingly, the interaction between the environment and people is what determines the welfare of both.
This project was set in Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka-a-Māui, meaning the prow of Māui's canoe, the traditional name for ‘top of the South Island’. Today, eight tribes (Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa ki Te Waka a Maui, Ngāti Apa ki Te Ra To, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Tama ki Te Waipounamu) form the region’s mana whenua. They are recognised through Crown legislation, and are regarded as kaitiaki, within their rohe. Despite the obligations imposed on resource management agencies by Te Tiriti o Waitangi and New Zealand’s laws, the issue of incorporating Māori values into management practices remains problematic. The aim of this project was to provide an opportunity for Te Tau Ihu iwi to meaningfully express their views about the health of freshwater, and to participate more completely in the management of the freshwater fishery resource.
The project involved collating historical and current, scientific and cultural research to understand the current state of the freshwater fisheries of Te Tau Ihu. Interviews were designed to capture and understand traditional fishing histories, tikanga and kawa specific to hapū or iwi; mahinga kai sites, and taonga species. These were professionally filmed to create a 12 minute video that captures how it was then and how it is now, addressing issues and solutions, and iwi aspirations for the future. The final report also provided a technical base and visual representation of environmental and historical information using GIS mapping.
Te Tau Ihu rohe comprises a multitude of overlapping interests in all spheres - across rohe, water catchments, legislation, statutory areas, regulations and policies.