Empowering Indigenous Community Engagement and Approaches in Lake Restoration: An Āotearoa-New Zealand Perspective

  • Erica K. WilliamsEmail author
  • Erina M. Watene-Rawiri
  • Gail T. Tipa


The Treaty of Waitangi forms the underlying foundation of the Crown–Māori relationship with regard to freshwater resources in Āotearoa-New Zealand. While there is no “one” Māori world view, there are principles and values that establish and reinforce whānau, hapū, rūnanga and iwi identity, and their responsibilities and rights to manage and use natural resources, including lakes. Lake restoration approaches that are grounded in tikanga Māori and Māori values and perspectives, and are co-designed to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of Māori, will ensure that outcomes are useful and of benefit to the participating indigenous community. The resulting outcomes are more likely to strengthen and add value to existing community initiatives, thus increasing efficiencies when capacity and capability across different expertise is in demand. This requires a commitment (by agencies and funders) to move beyond conventional understandings of who is “qualified” to engage in lake research and restoration initiatives. While hapū, rūnanga and iwi undoubtedly benefit from having their members qualify by being active participants in lake research and restoration efforts, in this chapter we emphasise the need for a more holistic approach that recognises and empowers whānau to engage as co-governors, co-leaders, researchers, as knowledge holders and as teachers. A truly collaborative lake restoration programme will provide multiple roles for Māori, including the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation approaches.


Co-management Co-governance Collaboration Mātauranga Māori Indigenous knowledge systems Cultural values 


Glossary of Te Reo Māori Used in this Chapter


Ceremonial dance


Is a tribal grouping that consists of whānau who typically share descent from a common ancestor


Flax, Phormium tenax




Walk, field trip


Assembly, meeting, gathering


Typically refers to Galaxias maculatus with the exception of the Te Arawa Lakes where common smelt (Retropinna retropinna) is known locally as īnanga


Is an extended tribal grouping that consists of hapū or whānau who typically share descent from a common ancestor and associate with a distinct territory

Kaahui Ariki

The paramount family of the Kiingitanga




Home, village




The exercise of customary custodianship, in a manner that incorporates spiritual matters, by those who hold mana whenua status for a particular area or resource. Kaitiakitanga is inextricably linked with concepts such as tino rangatiratanga (without which the practical implementation of kaitiakitanga is constrained or impossible) and taonga (Satterfield et al. 2005)


Freshwater mussels (typically Echyridella menziesi)


Face to face


Clubrush, Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani


Theme, philosophy, topic


Ceremonial protocols, rituals

Ki uta ki tai

From the mountains to the sea




The King movement—a movement which developed in the 1850s, established top stop the loss of land and promote Māori authority, to maintain law and order, and to promote traditional values and culture


Galaxias brevipinnis

Komiti Whakahaere

Is the fisheries management committee established under the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations (2006) to manage the customary fisheries in accordance with Te Arawa tikanga and kawa


Freshwater crayfish (used in this chapter to refer to the North Island species, Paranephrops planifrons)

Mahire Whakahaere

Is the Te Arawa Lakes Fisheries Plan required under the Te Arawa Lakes (Fisheries) Regulations (2006)


Work, to make, undertaking

Mahinga Kai

1. Is referred to in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 as indigenous freshwater species that have traditionally been used as food, tools, or other resources

2. To Ngāi Tahu mahinga kai is used to refer to their interests in traditional food and other natural resources and the places where those resources are obtained, i.e. food-gathering place


Prestige, authority, status

Mana whenua

Refers to the mana held by local people who have “demonstrated authority” over land or territory in a particular area, authority which is derived through whakapapa links to that area


The process of showing respect, generosity and care for others


Guest, visitor


Indigenous people of Āotearoa-New Zealand


Is a place typically in front of a wharenui (meeting house) where the members of whānau, hapū, or iwi meet and engage in pōwhiri (the ceremony of greeting and encounter), and includes associated buildings, such as the wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room), and surrounding land

Mātauranga Māori

Is a holistic perspective encompassing all aspects of knowledge and seeks to understand the relationships between all component parts and their interconnections to gain an understanding of the whole system. It is based on its own principles, frameworks, classification systems, explanations and terminology. Mātauranga Māori is a dynamic and evolving knowledge system and has both qualitative and quantitative aspects


Essential life force or principle, a quality inherent in all things both animate and inanimate


A region of the South Island in Āotearoa-New Zealand. Traditionally it was used to describe the portion of the South Island below the Waitaki River, but now is mostly used to describe the province of Southland


Free from tapu


1. Dwelling place, abode, encampment

2. Are temporary campsites for Ngāi Tahu whānau to use


Alive, well

Traditional settlement

Pā tuna

Eel weirs


European New Zealanders

Papatipu marae

Original Māori land, a meeting place for tāngata whenua, and a focal point for rūnanga


Mother Earth


Migrant eel (Lake Waahi)


A kind of prohibition. Rāhui were imposed variously to ensure the sustainability of a resource, after waters had been polluted (usually as a consequence of a death) or to reserve a resource for one’s use (White 1998)




Chief, leader


Self-determination, chieftainship, decision making rights


Bulrush, Typha orientalis


Tribal area, district, region




Tribal assembly, council




Area, district, region

Tangata tiaki

Individuals involved in the guardianship of a resource/area

Tāngata whenua

People of the land


In Māori mythology, taniwha are beings that live in rivers, caves, or in the sea. They may be considered highly respected kaitiaki (protective guardians) of people and places


Significant treasure, possessions, something prized


Restriction. Tapu was used as a way to control how people behaved towards each other and the environment

Tau kōura

A Te Arawa-Tūwharetoa traditional method of harvesting kōura

Te Ao Māori

Māori world view

Te Reo Māori

The Māori language

Te Ture Whaimana o te Awa o Waikato

The Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River


To protect, guard and look after

Tino Rangatiratanga

As absolute power and authority refers to the person or group who has the power to act with ultimate authority when necessary (Satterfield et al. 2005)

Tikanga Māori

Correct procedure, custom, lore, method and practice

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi. An agreement made between the British Crown and about 540 Māori chiefs first signed on 6 February, 1840


Sign, mark, symptom


Expert, specialist


Freshwater mussel


Surface-reaching pole (tau kōura) used to mark fishing grounds and delineate boundaries between hapū (Hiroa 1921)


Freshwater eels



Wāhi tapu

Sacred area/place




Spring heads








Connection, lineage, genealogy between humans and ecosystems and all flora and fauna. Māori seek to understand the total environment or whole system and its connections through whakapapa, not just part of these systems, and their perspective is holistic and integrated (Harmsworth and Awatere 2013)




Bracken fern bundles (as a component of the tau kōura)


A family group that consists of individuals who typically share a common whakapapa and identify with a common living or recent ancestor


Whanaungatanga refers to the reciprocal support relationship between members of the same whānau, hapū and iwi




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica K. Williams
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erina M. Watene-Rawiri
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gail T. Tipa
    • 4
  1. 1.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, HopuhopuNgaruawahiaNew Zealand
  3. 3.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchHamiltonNew Zealand
  4. 4.Tipa and AssociatesOutramNew Zealand

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