Our rohe is not only where we live, it is also our pantry, and a playground and classroom for our tamariki and mokopuna.
Once a source of plentiful kai for iwi and communities, Waihī Estuary, is now identified as one of the most degraded estuaries in Aotearoa. It is no longer a reliable source of safe, healthy kai and we don’t let our children swim there.
As kaitiaki, Iwi connected to Waihī have strongly voiced our concerns about the deteriorated state of the wahapū/estuary and surroundings. Decades of wetland drainage, river channelisation, farm and orchard land use intensification, contaminated runoff, a lack of buffers, leaky septic systems, inadequately treated sewage/effluent and pollution from boats have done serious harm to the waterways and estuary.
If we want the Waihī estuary to be the abundant mahinga kai (food basket) it once was, urgent action is needed.
Photos 1, 2 & 4: Andy Belcher
And that’s exactly why we’ve established Te Wahapū o Waihī: an iwi-led catchment-wide monitoring, education, restoration and management programme for the Waihī estuary.
Spearheading this action-based programme is a collective of the five iwi connected to the estuary – Ngāti Whakahemo, Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketū, Ngāti Mākino, Ngāti Pikiao and Tapuika. To achieve their goals, the collective is partnering with a range of people and organisations including the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC), the Ministry for the Environment's Te Mana o Te Wai and The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
We will know we are successful when we have a healthy mahinga kai, as an indicator of a thriving Waihī estuary, catchment and community – for now and generations to come.
In collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Mana o Te Wai, Te Wahapū o Waihī was established. This collective developed a much-anticipated, Iwi-led catchment-wide monitoring, education, restoration and management programme for the Waihī estuary.
Our mission is to seek restoration of our damaged ecosystems, and our relationships with them.
Thanks to support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Te Wahapū o Waihī will also engage with the more than 70 ahu whenua and Māori land trusts in the catchment. Together we will focus specifically on developing collaborative strategies for land use change that will align with new and upcoming legislative and regulatory changes and be good for the environment and business.
This work is led by a collaboration of five iwi, led by:
Te Taru White
Feel free to get in touch with them if you have any questions.
Te Wahapū o Waihī is committed to the following principles:
Actions speak so much louder than words.
Our collective actions are aimed at restoring the estuary as a place of abundance where taonga species thrive AND creating hope for a better future for our people.
Our progamme consists of the following actions:
Te Wahapū o Waihī will:
Te Wahapū o Waihī has launched the Waihī Environmental Internship programme: an employment, training and development programme which seeks to upskill rangatahi. This summer internship is set up to help our future kaitiaki better understand future employment opportunities, develop skills, achieve certifications, gain confidence, build connections and understand kaitiakitanga (through an iwi lens). The internship will run from mid-December 2023 to early-February 2024.
Applications for the 2023/2024 programme are now closed, but if you're interested in participating in a future edition, please get in touch and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To stay in the know, follow our progress on our Facebook page or check out our latest updates