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Tangata Whenua
Māori Engagement

Tangata whenua image

Wai/Water is considered a taonga/treasure to Māori. Māori culture and values have always placed a high importance on the energy, value and need to respect wai/water. Marae have always been established close to water, and the rivers, harbours and sea have always been a source of food. This is particularly evident in Hawke’s Bay. For Māori and communities, the health of the water is connected to the health of the people; we are one and the same.

He tāonga te wai ki te Māori. Kua roa nei te ahurea Māori me ōna uaratanga e aro ana ki te ia, ki te wāriu me te manaaki i te wai. He pātata ngā marae ki te wai, ki ngā awa, ki ngā whanga me te moana, inā rā he pātaka kai ēnei. Ka tino kitea tēnei āhuatanga i Te Matau-a-Māui. Hei tā ngā Māori me ngā hapori, he hononga tō te oranga o te wai ki te oranga o te tangata, e rua e rua.

Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – I am the river, the river is me.  Māori proverb

The Review acknowledges Māori’s relationship to this taonga and recognises that the development of any model must acknowledge the importance of providing a meaningful role for Tangata whenua/Māori.

I whai wāhi atu te hononga o te Māori ki tēnei taonga i roto i te arotakenga, ā, ki te hangaia mai he rautaki whakawhanake, me whai wāhi atu te hirahiratanga o te urutanga mai a te Tangata Whenua/Māori ki taua rautaki rā.

Tangata whenua/Māori are our treaty partners which means we are committed to engaging and partnering with Māori. In addition, the project team is guided by the Local Government Act to ensure we provide opportunities for Tangata whenua/Māori to contribute to the decision-making process.    

He hononga ā-Tiriti i waenganui i a mātau ko te Tangata Whenua/Māori, he tohu tērā o tā mātau ū ki ngā whakawhitinga kōrero me te mahi tahi ki te Māori. Waihoki, e ārahi ana te Local Government Act i te tīma mahi e tika ai tā mātau pōhiri i te Tangata Whenua/Māori ki te tēpu i te wā o ngā whakataunga.

The kōrero so far

The project team has been having ongoing kōrero with the Māori Standing Committees of the five councils, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Regional Planning Committee and Māori Advisory Committee. We have been engaging with Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea Inc in place of a formal committee of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.

Kua roa nei te tīma mahi e kōrero tahi ana me ngā Māori Standing Committees o ngā kaunihera e rima, te Hawkes Bay Regional Council Planning Committee me te Māori Advisory Committee. Kei te kōrero hoki ki Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea Inc hei kōmiti ōkawa o te Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.

Through our kōrero it is clear how culturally significant water is for Māori and that this Review should incorporate Te Ao Māori (Māori world view), kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and acknowledge mātauranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge). There is a strong desire from Māori for the option to include true partnership, co-design, and co-governance. 

I roto i ngā whakawhitinga kōrero, he mārama te kite i te hirahiratanga o te wai ki te Māori, me te aha, me mātua whai wāhi atu Te Ao Māori, te kaitiakitanga me te mātauranga Māori ki roto i te arotakenga. E manako nui ana te Māori ka whai mana taurite te Māori, e noho tahi ai ngā taha e rua, i ngā taumata katoa.

This korero has also highlighted the importance of Māori’s holistic approach to water – there is only one wai. This is particularly relevant when our Review is based on the service and delivery of stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater. For Māori all water is considered one, whether it is water that we drink, water running down the drains, or water used to flush the toilet, it is considered one. We need to acknowledge this view and look at how this principle is considered as part of the different service delivery options.   

Ka hua ake hoki te hirahiratanga o tā te Māori tiro whānui ki te wai, arā kotahi noa iho te wai, i roto i ēnei kōrero. Hāngai rawa atu tēnei i te mea ko te tūāpapa o te arotakenga ko te ratonga me te mahi o te wai i te rangi, te wai inu me te wai para. Hei tā te Māori, kotahi anake te wai, he wai inu, he wai ka heke i ngā waikari, he wai i te wharepaku rānei. Me mihi mātau ki tēnei tirohanga, ā, me wānanga i te whai wāhitanga o tēnei mātāpono i roto i ngā kōwhiringa tuku ratonga rerekē. 

Mai i te rangi, ki te whenua, Mai uta, ki tai - from the sky to the land, from the hinterlands to the sea Māori proverb

Cultural principles 

The following principles were developed through engagement with our Māori committees:

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Te wai, he taonga i tuku iho mai i ngā tīpuna – water is a taonga, a precious treasure passed down from our ancestors.

These words capture the significance Māori place on these principles and therefore on water (wai).

The chairs of the Māori committees were clear that a meaningful role for Māori starts with the opportunity for partnership with co-design of the model across co-governance and operations. They were stringent in their view that the status quo is not a sustainable option for our environment and Te mauri o te wai (the life force of water). An Asset owning CCO was their preferred model with adaptation to a Māori worldview that places people within the environment, and not in a dominant and exploitive view.

The importance of a cultural case

The Māori engagement process identified a cultural gap in the better business case framework for the Three Waters Review report. Initially the approach was to weave a cultural element through the business case but during the project it became clear that a separate cultural case was required. The rationale for a cultural case was that Māori cultural values and traditions associated with water have been well documented within council processes, however the operational implementation of cultural values was considered to be a gap.

The role of the cultural case is to highlight that within the regulatory framework relating to water, Te Ao Māori, through its language, genealogy, stories and traditions, requires a greater level of competency than usual. The cultural case is underpinned by the Treaty of Waitangi.

It identifies a model that paves the pathway of Hawke’s Bay partnership and co-design with Māori underpinned by the Treaty of Waitangi. In doing so it recognises twenty-plus years of relationship growth between five Hawkes Bay councils, post-Treaty settled iwi and the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi Taiwhenua structure. The cultural case recognises iwi and hapū regional affiliations and their preparedness to act collectively which exists because of relationships, trust and confidence, born of time and kanohi ki te kanohi. This does not exist under a multi-regional approach. 

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