Kaitiaki flows

Baseflow-dominated stream systems

Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund case study on Kaitiaki flows.

Ngāti Rangiwewehi, an iwi of Te Arawa that sits at the Northern end of Lake Rotorua, partnered with GNS Science to establish an iwi-centered approach for a flow regime that meets iwi needs for traditionally-recognised practices of water flow systems. The project was supported by Te Pūnaha Hīhiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund.

The Kaitiaki Flow method showed how traditional Māori knowledge can be influential when setting environmental limits and used within established legislative frameworks such as the Resource Management Act 1991 and National Policy Statements.  The method is also a ground-breaking framework by utilising alternative mediums and methodologies that provide a guideline to iwi engagement with other iwi-science water projects. Wide participation by ngā uri o Ngāti Rangiwewehi in the process to define Kaitiaki Flow regime illuminated the importance of kaitiakitanga and co-management roles within their community.

Three hui-ā-iwi were instrumental in the development of the Kaitiaki Flow regime. The first hui identified a Ngāti Rangiwewehi-based science engagement framework. The second hui explored iwi preferences for the Kaitiaki Flow regime and finally the last hui identified the preferred regime that guarantees the sustainability of stream flow and engages the iwi in stream-monitoring activities.

“Kaitiaki flow gave us an ability to leverage our iwi intelligence, drawing on western science at the appropriate times to protect out taonga” – Nā Joeseph Tuhakaraina

A significant number of iwi members felt that there was a wider impact on their personal and iwi growth from this project. Many members contributed to the project and learnt how their own mātauranga-ā-Ngāti Rangiwewehi could align with Western science to benefit their needs and aspirations for their awa, their whenua and their people.

"A key outcome has been the capability plan allowing for further growth of our people both in te ao Māori and te ao pākehā. As kaitiaki the iwi have a thirst for knowledge on the hydrology of Te Awahou Stream."

Ian Simpson, Chief Executive of GNS Science says "we are proud to have partnered with Ngāti Rangiwewehi in this project which has shown the benefits of iwi/science integration.  The Kaitiaki Flows Project has demonstrated integration of mātauranga and we look forward to other developments that the outcomes of this project will generate".

Nā Joeseph Tuhakaraina

Ngāti Rangiwewehi

Last updated: 18 August 2020