TE TAIAO: Our Environment

Te Taiao Survey:

Congratulations to our first winner of the Whakarongotai o te wā online survey is Aunty Mackie!

Aunty Mackie has won a Nutribullet 1000! If you too would like a chance to win like Aunty Mackie, we still have 2 prizes left. The Two prizes up for grabs are, a $100 supermarket voucher and a Google home virtual assistant! 

The survey is available for you to complete, all you need to do is click on this link. We encourage you to sit down with whānau, share your kōrero and complete our annual survey. Help us assist the Taiao Unit of Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust in supporting the kaitiakitanga of our rohe.

If there is anything you believe hasn’t been covered in the survey or you have anything you wish to share, we invited you to add this detail at the end.

We look forward to hearing from you!”

Ngā mihi,

Madie Davy
Environmental Consultant
Te Kōnae Ltd.

Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai Project 


Last year, our Pou Takawaenga Taiao, Mayor Guru and other community representatives met with the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage to propose she support the development of an action plan for the Waikanae River as a model for river conservation On the 5th of March 2019, the Minister of Conservation announced that the Waikanae River had been chosen as one of 14 priority river catchments across Aotearoa. From this announcement, the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai Project has been developed to facilitate expansion of catchment conservation work through a collaborative process to restore the Waikanae catchment to a state of mouri ora. 

The Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai project is a partnership between Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai (ĀKW), Department of Conservation (DOC), Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC), and Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC). The project will utilize the ‘Tiriti House Model’ as a framework that sets out key principles to inform these partnership arrangements.

To date, Ātiawa Ki Whakarongotai have appointed John Barrett as our representative on the Project’s Governance Group and four iwi Pou have been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Project. This decision-making committee will have equal representation of mana whenua and tauiwi, reflecting a true partnership model.

The Board selected Pou who have a long-standing history of experiences and relationships with te awa o Waikanae that they bring to this forum. They will draw from these to help guide their process going forward. The purpose of the Steering Committee will be to develop key objectives for the awa, and oversee the implementation of an Awa Action Plan. In the first instance, the Pou will be focused on determining if ĀKW and the broader community can identify shared objectives and principles that they can then commit to in this Awa Action Plan, an outcome to support future management and monitoring within the catchment.

Ko wai ngā Pou: 

Bill Carter

Matua Bill has a long-standing and continuing interest in both freshwater and marine ecology. For many years, he has served his iwi in various capacities, including a long involvement as a Director of the Iwi Fisheries Asset Holding Company and as a member of the Water Working Group in partnership with Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC). He is currently a member of the Environmental Committee for Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust, through which he also represents the iwi on Te Ūpoko Taiao, and in the recent triennium, the Natural Resource Management Committee of Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the Strategy and Planning Committee of KCDC.

Through his involvement in the Water Working Group, Matua Bill was a leader in developing the Waikanae River Recharge Project, through which groundwater is used to recharge the Waikanae River takes that are utilised for drinking water supply on the Kāpiti Coast. His involvement in the design of this project was targeted to ensure that the quality of water discharged into the Waikanae River at times when the River may be stressed is of better quality than the water in the River at the time. Matua Bill has also taken a strong interest in the treatment and discharge of water into Tributaries of the Waikanae River.

Sharlene Maoate-Davis

Sharlene has always lived within the reaches of the Waikanae river. As a child, she recalls her grandfather gathering patiki or flounder whose tails would later protrude from a large skillet pan.  Over time, she observed the abundance of kai that could be gathered by her father, Tony Davis who had learned and often advocated for the preservation of tikanga along the awa into the sea channel known as Te Rau-o-te-rangi.

Sharlene’s own relationship to the awa comes in another form.  As an Iwi Rongoā practitioner, Sharlene has learned the importance of te awa o Waikanae, as a living entity, whose mouri is vitally important in the healing of the land and its people.   Mouri Ora, requires a continued observation of rituals and practices that respect, maintain and revitalise the balancing of life-force energies within the awa.  Hence the maintenance and resurgence of inter-generational connections, customary knowledge, stories and activity along the awa is critically important for future generations who will inherit ‘kaitiakitanga’ of the Waikanae river.  

Sharlene has  a background in Māori health, social services and education.  She has owned and operated her own local business for the past 18 years.  She is a facilitator of local and regional Rongoā workshops and until 2019 co-designed and delivered the Diploma in Rongoā for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. 

Sharlene is a Pou Rongoā, a senior practitioner delivering the CCDHB contracted Rongoā services for the Rongoā Collective of the ART Confederation and Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira. 

Sharlene is currently the Co-chair of Te Mauri Tuhono ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, who is a collaborative working group who has been tasked with developing the Kaipupuri Taonga framework on regional Biodiversity for the Wellington Region, which is in partnership with DOC and the Wellington Regional Council.  She  has also represented the region, as Trustee for Te Kāhui Rongoā Trust, the national body for Rongoā Māori.  

Les Mullen

“My heart is the awa and the awa is me.”

Matua Les has a strong connection to the Waikanae River as one of its most passionate kaitiaki and fisherman. Matua Les plays several important roles for Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai (ĀKW), including Trustee of Takamore Urupā, provider of mahinga kai (traditional food) for Whakarongotai Marae, and as a Kaitiaki Monitor for ĀKW Charitable Trust, monitoring the health of tuna and watercress throughout the tribal area of ĀKW.

Matua Les has a relationship with all the waterways in the tribal area of ĀKW, which started for him as a child playing and learning to fish different areas using different techniques, and lead him to be taught by local elders such as Uncle Manny, until he eventually became known as a key food gatherer for his community.

Matua Les is an avid whitebaiter, and also loves fishing the tuna heke. He has a strong interest in carrying on traditional practices that will ensure the future sustainability of our local fisheries, and regularly supports Hui Rangatahi, or Marae-based youth camps, where he passes on his knowledge and skills to the future generation of the iwi.

Rawhiti Higgott

Ra’s relationship with the awa reflects his role as kaitiaki, which includes caring for its spiritual and physical wellness. This relationship with the awa goes back to his childhood days over 60 years ago and the times he spent on the awa either eeling with his uncle or learning how to swim. He spent much of the summer with whānau of Waikanae at the awa, catching cockabillies, gathering watercress or pūhā and collecting an abundance of blackberries. He would say they all use to go ‘quite black’ from the amount of time they would spend at the awa. 

“I taught my children and grandchildren how to swim in the awa and I spend the summer with my moko down at the awa. I walk the river walk track often to keep my fitness up and am always on the lookout for anything happening on the awa. I am quite knowledgeable on the ngahere (forest) that is along the awa and also the manu (birdlife) that are attracted by the flowering trees. I’ve noticed changes in the river from my time as a child, it’s not so deep as it was back then.” 

“I live close by the awa. On different days when I am walking the awa, the sounds of the wind and rain give different messages and sounds like they are talking to the awa. It’s amazing.”

Ngā Kaimahi:

Mahina-a-Rangi Baker

Mahina-a-rangi Baker, our Pou Takawaenga Taiao, is the Iwi Project Manager for Waikanae ki uta ki tai and will be part of the group’s secretariat. In her six years working for Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, much of her day-to-day and project work has revolved around kaitiakitanga of the Waikanae River. She worked with Mayor Guru and other key community members to propose the project to the Minister of Conservation as a means of integrating the planning and care work for the awa. She recently completed her PhD in Resource and Environment Planning, which was also an iwi-focused project on Māori modelling and the kaitiakitanga of water.

Mahina-a-rangi is a lecturer for the Kaitiakitanga Pūtaiao Degree at Te Wānanga o Raukawa where she enjoys teaching other emerging kaitiaki from across the country. She also works at the national level in water policy development, including through her role on the Kāhui Wai Māori, a forum that advises the Minister for the Environment on freshwater reform and policy development.

Aaria Dobson-Waitere

Aaria Dobson-Waitere is an Environmental Consultant and has been brought on to provide secretariat support to the project. She has a Masters in Conservation Biology, and a background in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) which she uses to support iwi, hapū and whānau to map their own traditional knowledge in a contemporary platform.

Kaitiakitanga of the taiao is Aaria’s passion and this is reflected in her working roles. She is currently working part time at Zealandia – Te Māra a Tāne as the Kaitiaki Ranger in the conservation team. Aaria also works on several other projects with a wai Māori focus, including as an iwi representative for Taranaki Whānui on the Wellington Whaitua process, a project to improve water quality in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

To support the kaupapa of succession planning, there will be standing rangatahi seats on the Steering Committee whereby rangatahi can function as observers, providing them with opportunities to get exposure into decision-making processes in line with the principles of Te Tiriti.If you would like to know more about the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai Project, please contact wkukt@teatiawakikapiti.co.nz