Tim & Kerri

Māori Engagement and Collaboration

Partnerships – With Descriptor


Living Water has adopted a long term approach aimed at building strong relationships with mana whenua. Early engagement with mana whenua identified the loss of mana caused by a much reduced ability to exercise Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship) over their natural resources. Participation in the restoration of indigenous biodiversity in their rohe is one pathway to restoring Kaitiakitanga. 

We are helping to build mana whenua capacity and capability to restore Kaitiakitanga, and we are creating opportunities to weave Mātauranga Māori into Living Water project design and delivery.


  • Genuine and strong relationships with mana whenua will enable knowledge sharing
  • Cultural and natural heritage protection


He ika kai ake i raro, he Rāpaki ake i raro is a whakataukī or proverb that illustrates that any journey begins with a first step. 

We have started this journey in each of the five Living Water catchments. We have also developed a Māori engagement strategy and relationship building principles for our teams and our work. These include:

  • We focus on collaborative partnerships with Māori to expand knowledge, take a long-term view and grow the scale and impact of our work
  • We engage at the appropriate level to match decision-making and Kaitiaki mandates and responsibilities
  • We invest in building capability and capacity to assist Māori to exercise Kaitiakitanga in Living Water catchments
  • We ensure iwi/hapu co-design solutions for their catchments and we are exploring ways to weave Mātauranga Māori into all aspects of our work including adding a “layer” into Farm Environment Plans
  • We adopt a Living Water Kawa or set of engagement principles and grow staff capability in Te Reo and Tikanga
Ben & Hori by truck

Read our case study