What is this project?
Living Water selected the Ararira catchment because although the waterways are highly modified for land drainage, it is a significant source of water for Te Waihora and contains remnant habitat for native fish, bird and plant species. Modification of the landscape in the catchment has impacted on cultural identity. That led to the decision to work with Te Taumutu Rūnanga to build capacity and capability for mana whenua to rejuvenate the mauri of Te Waihora.
Te Waihora and its contributing catchments have significance for Ngāi Tahu as a tribal taonga and mahinga kai. Te Taumutu Rūnanga is a key Papatipu Rūnanga with interests in Te Waihora, and in particular, the Ararira catchment. Living Water recognised that working in partnership with mana whenua was critical for freshwater aspirations to be realised.
What has been done?
Living Water has been developing its engagement processes with Te Taumutu Rūnanga for several years, including building a relationship between staff and representatives, keeping in regular communication, as well as attending hui at Ngāti Moki marae.
The relationship was formalised in October 2017 when Te Mana Ararira, an advisory group, was set up with terms of reference and goals/objectives, to provide structured engagement between the rūnanga, Living Water and other groups and agencies who have an interest or are working in the Ararira catchment. Te Mana Ararira meets two to three times each year.
we've been working between Living Water and Te Taumutu and Ngāi Tahu for a few years, communicating how best to work together. The first step really is just to talk. In the water is the last bastion of our mahinga kai. That's why it's so important for us.
Living Water – Ararira-LII, Canterbury catchment project
What has been achieved?
Building mutual respect and common understanding has included increasing capability and capacity for mana whenua to be involved in freshwater management. Through Te Mana Ararira Living Water is working to help realise the aspirations of mana whenua for the catchment – to rejuvenate the mauri and life supporting capacity of Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere.
What has Living Water learnt?
Collaborative freshwater work should be designed as people change processes, and be mana enhancing for all stakeholders. Te Mana Ararira has enabled the Living Water partners to strengthen their knowledge of mana whenua values, policies and aspirations. Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori need to be embraced and fully integrated into freshwater improvement approaches. From participation in Te Mana Ararira, cultural values and practices have been incorporated into Living Water projects and the wider programme.