A journey towards reinstating and restoring a thriving cultural ecosystem and habitat
Our team of consultants were tasked with delivering a Mātauranga Māori Monitoring Programme for the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project. The purpose of the Mātauranga Māori monitoring programme is to demonstrate how to measure the cultural outcomes of the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project, and whether the resulting changes over time within Ahuriri Lagoon may improve cultural outcomes for Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga. In addition, the Mātauranga Māori monitoring programme sought to integrate cultural values and aspirations into the design of a re-constructed wetland that aims to improve biodiversity and mahinga kai, attenuate nutrients and sediment, and provide ‘proof of concept’ on a smaller scale that it is possible and valuable to restore the lagoon, its habitats, and some of its original functions for Ngāi Tahu.
Our approach included a simple, trusted and culturally appropriate method that involved key inputs by Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga representatives. It was critical that the engagement process was seamlessly integrated into the overall wetland design process, as well as with the existing internal processes of wider programme partners and steering group members. Working with all parties, a Cultural Values Report was prepared that provided the wetland construction project team with an overview of manawhenua cultural values and aspirations associated with Ahuriri Lagoon. This report provided a clear monitoring programme for phase two of the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project; it is proposed that six sites across the Ahuriri area will be monitored using various cultural monitoring tools such as the Takiwā tool, the Cultural Health Index and fish monitoring via electric fishing and net setting.
Throughout the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project, Mātauranga Māori has been identified as being critical to informing both the design and reconstruction of the traditional wetland, as well as being a tool to monitor progress and performance of the wetland.
We also developed the ongoing process for monitoring changes in the wetland, which has since been developed into a further project (Phase 2) in 2019 and will ensure manawhenua engagement and involvement throughout the construction phase.
Boffa Miskell led the engagement with manawhenua to ensure the cultural values of Ahuriri were at the forefront of the wetland design thinking.