A new relationship agreement and ecological restoration project with Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa acknowledges shared hopes for a sustainable future.
Ko Te Mana o te Wai, he mana taketake. Mā wai e kawe, e hiki i te mana o te wai Māori? Mā tātou.
Water has always had mana. Who will uplift and carry the mana of freshwater? We all will.
— Te Mana o Te Wai
In February 2022, Wairakei Estate signed a relationship agreement with Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa. This agreement acknowledges our joint hopes for a sustainable future. It also sets us on a path to achieve this, together.
Part of the foundation of this agreement was supporting Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa’s application to the Ministry for the Environment to secure funding through Te Mana o Te Wai. This national direction aims to protect and improve the health of Aotearoa’s waterways, alongside engaging Māori on the care and management of freshwater.
The success of this application has created a new opportunity to work side-by-side with iwi. Three part-time and one full-time employee will collaborate closely with our Conservation Manager on the management and restoration of the Pueto stream.
This project aims to restore the ecological integrity of the area — encompassing the Pueto, Sexton and Paetataramoa streams. Not only important because of its connection to Waikato Te Awa, the area also hosts fish spawning habitat and acts as a kai resource, with the presence of watercress, tuna (eel) and kōura (freshwater crayfish).
Of its many environmental objectives, the project aims to remove invasive weeds, enhance the existing corridor to Waikato Te Awa and protect water quality. It also creates space for community connection, with a walkway leading from the road to where the stream and river meet.
Working from the ground up on everything from planting to project management, the long-term goal is for iwi to use this knowledge to inform legislation and regulations in the future.
With Wairakei’s Estate positioning within the Ngāti Tahu – Ngāti Whaoa rohe, the relationship agreement marks the beginning of the journey to see our shared vision become a reality.