Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Building a Monitoring Toolkit to Give Effect to Ngaa Rauru Freshwater Values

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posted on 2023-11-30, 21:13 authored by Petar Druskovich

Freshwater management systems in Aotearoa New Zealand have failed on at least two fronts: (i) to maintain the health of the county’s waterways and (ii) to recognise the mana motuhake and rangatiratanga of Maaori hapuu and iwi. For Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, the southernmost Taranaki iwi, both failings are evident in their recent experience. Historically popular swimming spots in their network of freshwater streams are no longer safe to make physical contact with, and freshwater mahinga kai resources dwindle in the degraded systems. Several well-documented examples exist of how the freshwater management and decision-making system is unable to recognise Ngaa Rauru voices and values, let alone give effect to them. In response to recent policy shift across Aotearoa, Te Kaahui o Rauru, the post-settlement governance entity for Ngaa Rauru, have secured funding to implement Te Wai Koiora, a programme that seeks to build the capability and capacity of uri (tribal members), hapuu (sub-tribal groups) and iwi (the tribe) to take a leading role in freshwater management across their rohe (territory). A key part of the programme is the development of a freshwater monitoring toolkit of appropriate monitoring tools that can give effect to the full complex of Ngaa Rauru freshwater values. This thesis forms an initial step in that development process. Here, I use an established environmental values framework to structure a textual analysis of Ngaa Rauru values articulations in hapuu and iwi Cultural Impact Assessments and policy instruments against established kaupapa Maaori freshwater assessment tools. By aligning the analysis across the two document sets, I provide an exploration of a more quantitative approach to assess exactly which tools (or components of tools) give effect to different freshwater values. My analysis shows that in many ways Ngaa Rauru freshwater values are divergent from Eurocentric freshwater values embedded in established environmental values frameworks. For example, concepts like Whakapapa bring a relational and intergenerational element to freshwater values that are not evident in established frameworks. Textual analysis of the kaupapa Maaori freshwater assessment tools shows that existing tools can indeed give effect to many Ngaa Rauru freshwater values, but with clear room for further and more targeted development. Even though all values may not result in a quantitative metric at the end of the assessment process, the collaborative and community-based approach that the assessment tools take ensures that values like Tikanga (cultural protocol) and Whanaungatanga (familial relationships) are given effect to in the process. For those Ngaa Rauru freshwater values that are more difficult to give effect to with existing monitoring tools, I point to the potential of reflexive kaupapa Maaori assessment tools developed by Maaori scholars in education for guidance on making advancements on kaupapa Maaori freshwater monitoring tools.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Environmental Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

219999 Other Indigenous not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Van Uitregt, Billy; Rees, Andrew