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«Wānanga-a-Awa Kaiwhāiki Marae Whanganui 24 & 25 March 2011 Summary Report Acknowledgements ERMA New Zealand and Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao would ...»

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Kaiwhāiki Marae


24 & 25 March 2011

Summary Report


ERMA New Zealand and Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao would like to thank Kaumātua

Morvin Simon (Te Atihaunui ā Pāpārangi, Ngāti Apa, Tūwharetoa) and his whānau. Their

generosity in sharing knowledge with participants, taking very good care of everyone, for the

beautiful waiata throughout the wānanga, and for composing a waiata specifically for the

Network, is greatly appreciated. It was indeed a privilege to have been part of this wānanga.

Facilitators Morvin Simon As well as facilitating this wānanga, Morvin Simon presented some of the sessions. The most moving session included noting, that for them, Te Awa Tūpua o Whanganui is; ‘our first highway, our first pharmacy, our first larder, our first washroom, laundry and our first baptismal font’. He also provided an understanding about how those who live by the river view it, noting that even flood events are important to the river’s health and wellbeing.

Gerrard Albert Our special thanks also to Gerrard Albert for contributing to the presentations and discussions, sharing some insights about the challenges faced in negotiating through the Whanganui River Claim process.

Whanganui River The 290-km Whanganui River is the second longest in the North Island, after the Waikato.

Rising on the north-west flank of Mt Tongariro, it reaches the Tasman Sea at Whanganui.

From its source, the river flows north-west for 60 km, then turns sharply south at Taumarunui. Its main tributaries are the Ōngarue from the north, the Ōhura and Tāngarākau from the west, and the Manganuiōteao from the east. The latter rises on the west side of Ruapehu, and flows due west. Joined by the Ruatītī, it meets the Whanganui, not far above Pipiriki. For most of its course, the Whanganui River is deeply entrenched in sandstone and mudstone, and runoff makes it very muddy.

The river’s most spectacular scenery is in its middle reaches, between Whakahoro and Pipiriki, where it passes through a series of narrow gorges amidst one of the North Island’s largest areas of unmodified lowland forest, much of it part of Whanganui National Park. The river has 239 named rapids, but a gentle gradient. Lacking falls, it is navigable upstream as far as Taumarunui.

There were major floods in 1904, 1940, 1958, 1965, 1990 and 1998, and the lowest parts of Whanganui City were flooded in 1904 and 1940. Since 1972 some of the Whanganui headwaters have been diverted to the Waikato River by the Tongariro Power Development scheme.

Kaiwhāiki Marae Kaiwhāiki is approximately 20kms north of Whanganui City and has over 50 whānau living on papakainga and tupuna land. The home of Ngā Paerangi and site of the first Catholic mission on the river in 1852, the unique twin-gabled meeting house is called Te Kiritahi. A nationally recognised cultural group, Te Matapihi is organised from Kaiwhāiki and has produced several compact discs and records.

Network Members As always ERMA New Zealand and Ngā Kaihautū acknowledge Network members for attending and contributing to making our wānanga so successful. In particular, due to its relatively remote location, several members were subject to travel disruptions and challenges.

Your patience and understanding is acknowledged and greatly appreciated.


ERMA New Zealand continues to provide wānanga of this kind to Māori resource and environmental managers to support, improve and advance more informed decision making.

In accordance with ERMA New Zealand’s overall strategy for engaging with Māori, this wānanga was designed to provide a forum for sharing knowledge and experience relating to the ongoing protection and management of taonga. This wānanga represented the first of a new annual series focussing on the complex relationship between Māori and waterways, and the challenges faced in the management of their ongoing health and wellbeing.

Forty-six participants attended the hui over the two days. Participants included Māori National Network members (or their representatives) charged with the responsibility of managing resource or environmental issues within their rohe. Also present were other iwi/hapū/rūnanga representatives and resource management networks from around the country. In addition, representatives from other government agencies and CRIs attended, as well as members of Ngā Kaihautū, and staff from ERMA New Zealand (participant list attached).

Day 1 Measuring the Mauri of the Awa After the pōwhiri, mihimihi and whakawhanaungatanga, Morvin Simon provided insights about the history of the Whanganui river.

–  –  –

He talked about the many things that the river provides for their people, including food, recreation, building materials, baptisimal and healing waters and spirituality.Discussions followed about what the river stands for and about their role as kaitiaki. Finally, Morvin noted that the river is both giver and taker of life for its people.

Gerrard Albert provided historic information about the area, Treaty of Waitangi claims issues, water quality challenges, and the effects of government and large business activities on both the awa and its people. He noted that the main aspiration of their claims is for the implementation of a statute that will protect and restore the river, and its relationship with Whanganui iwi.

Discussion An open floor discussion session was facilitated to enable participants to ask questons and

share information about issues occurring in their own areas. The issues raised included:

(1) The challenge of having impacts to resources and people considered as ‘externalities’ not specifically relevant to decision making.

(2) Some lessons and experiences gained from the Sawmill Workers Against Poisons movement and iwi affected by sawmill activities.

(3) Changes made to landscapes, waterways and within communities change the entire nature of the whakapapa relationships between them. One example provided noted that by placing a dam on a river you immediately restrict the availability of eels. This in turn impacts on the practices and tikanga of the people associated with eels, which flows on to negatively affect the overall health and wellbeing of both the river and its people.

(4) The need to return to collective responsibility in waterway management including pollution measures.

(5) The forgotten cultural and scientific importance of wetlands and vital mechanisms for clearing and cleaning the water.

(6) The need to restore and return to a tikanga based approach to living and managing our relationships with land and water.

(7) Heavy metal contamination, particularly cummulative contamination, of fresh water and marine environments.

(8) The recent Waikato River Settlement approach, experiences and future challenges.

(9) The importance of flood events in clearing and cleaning waterways. Also information was provided on the types of activities undertaken by those living alongside rivers to maximise the benefits accruing from floods.

(10) Concerns about waterway contamination by agricultural and forestry practices and the need for more collective thinking, approach, and decision making by Māori communities about the types of land and waterway use.

(11) Several participants noted activities undertaken in their own regions to protect and maintain the health and wellbeing of waterways. Many also noted challenges and issues in working with central and local government bodies in relation to these activities.

Several participants also noted that the intrinsic wellness of waterways and people is reciprocal. People who look after an awa need to maintain mutual respect with it. Examples were given of the changes noted in terms of river health and quality. For the Whanganui River it was noted that seals used to be in the awa, and that shoals of mullet and an abundance of fresh water mussles were common. ‘Taku Whare E’ a book written by Morvin Simon, covers in more detail informaton about the 25 marae up the river. Finally Morvin summed up by noting that we need to get out of the way of the river when it floods, or the mountain when it errupts – they have been here forever and we can not change them.

Members agreed to take the information shared during this session back to their own regions to identify mechanisms for restoring a tikanga approach and collective responsibility.

Day 2 Reflections Morvin Simon led the first session of the day reflecting on the points raised during the Day 1 discussions and stressed that if you take care of your awa it will take care of you. He talked about how important the traditions of the ancestors are, including karakia, and reciprocity.

Participants expressed their gratitude for the knowledge and information shared noting their desire to return at some point in the future to more comprehensively tour the river.

Update from MAF Biosecurity (Doug Jones, Erica Gregory, David Yard) In February 2011 NZ Food Safety Authority merged with MAF. Next year the Ministry of Fisheries and MAF will also amalgamate.

The National Pest Management Plan of Action was developed with input from a tangata whenua focus group. The Plan acknowledges the unique relationship between the Crown and tangata whenua, and will take into account tikanga Māori and kaitiakitanga of tangata whenua. It is also proposed that a Māori advisory group be established to guide MAF on pest management and broader biosecurity issues. One of the programmes focuses on building two way capability with tangata whenua. Another aims to develop an integrated approach to toolbox management, including tools based on mātauranga Māori.

Waitangi Wood, who is part of the tangata whenua leadership team for kauri dieback (Pythopthora taxon Agathis), provided an update. Quarterly national training hui have been held for the team. Māori have identified areas that are affected by kauri dieback and these areas are part of the programme to find solutions. Funding has been approved for a research proposal to look at the cultural health of kauri forests. The most affected areas are tourist trails.

Concern was raised from the floor that this Phytopthora is affecting kawakawa. Erica advised that the Phytopthora affecting kauri is not known to affect kawakawa but she will get more information from the relevant people at MAF. For kauri dieback, a programme has been put in place asking people to check and clean equipment and gear before and after they go into kauri forests, including cleaning the soles of their footwear – this is the best way to prevent spread. Participants to ring 0800 80 99 66 if they wish to report unusual or suspicious finds. [Erica has since advised that four other species of phythopthora are thought to be causing the kawakawa decline but, as yet, scientists do not know which one it is. MAF is reviewing the situation with kawakawa.]

Use of Gemex to manage didymo (David Yard – MAF; Sue Clearwater – NIWA)

Further information was provided by MAF and NIWA on the planned application for HSNO Act approval of Gemex. It was noted that sometimes the need to use tools such as Gemex are necessary to bring the equilibrium back to the environment. MAF are preparing for discovery of the pest alga didymo in the North Island, should it occur. Iwi have, and will continue to be involved throughout the process.

Sue Clearwater provided information about studies undertaken in artificial streams and river trials to control didymo. She advised the methods and conclusions of these studies.

Participants raised concerns that some of the compounds in Gemex were held as confidential and did not think they could fully consider the use of the substance without full information.

A river trial held in Princhester Creek (Southland) was discussed informing participants about how the local hapū had been involved. Once the test sites were identified local iwi were involved because they wanted to see the eradication of didymo.

Gemex will be considered for use if didymo is found in the North Island. It is currently the only tool available to control didymo in waterways, but it cannot be used again until it is HSNO registered. It was stressed that the early detection of didymo in the North Island is vital and that participants should contact MAF or NIWA should they detect it in their area. If it is found early enough there is a possibility of eradication.

Call 0800 809 966 if any queries or www.biosecurity.govt.nz/didymo for further information.

Waiata for the Network For the last session of the day Morvin Simon taught the group a waiata he had composed for the Network. We were indeed priveleged to have the waiata composed and will ensure it is utilised at every possible National Network opportunity.

He kaitiaki matou e o ngā taonga tuku iho Nō roto mai o te pataka tūpuna - (Tiakina!!) Tiaki (tiaki) tia e tatou (e tatou) Ko ngā puna wai Māori nei e Participant feedback Of the 46 participants who attended the wānanga, 16 feedback forms were received. Verbal feedback also reflected information provided in the feedback forms. The majority of participants responded positively to all questions posed. The following statements summarise general opinions expressed.

(1) Kaiwhāiki Marae was noted as being a very appropriate venue for this wānanga. The marae and the setting are beautiful and the whānau from Kaiwhāiki were very welcoming, providing an enjoyable, safe environment.

(2) Participants noted the less ‘regimental’ structure of this wānanga and found it flowed well and was more conducive to open discussion and thought.

(3) Generally participants thought the presentations were good, but noted as the highlight of the wānanga, the very informative, enjoyable, and well presented kōrero from local kaumātua Morvin Simon.

(4) Some participants noted that there was not enough time for workshops and for questions to be answered and that some of the science jargon may have been too technical.

However, other participants noted the presentations were not too technical.

(5) There were differing views about whether the government presentations fitted in with the kōrero provided by Morvin Simon. However, participants said that they were more informed about the affect of didymo in rivers, management options and the future potential application for Gemex.

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