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Engaging with Iwi to Restore Mahinga Kai Values and the Quality of Wai (Water)

To safeguard the quality of their waterways and restore mahinga kai values (food resources and their ecosystems), Ngāti Ranginui and Ko Waitangi Te Awa, have embarked on a partnership with AquaWatch, utilising the “waka” or water monitoring devices to restore mahinga kai values and blend traditional knowledge with cutting-edge technology.

Water quality monitoring to improve waterways for Tuna (eel))
Water quality monitoring to improve waterways for Tuna (eel))

Ngāti Ranginui: Honoring the Mahi Tuna (Eel) Tradition


Des Heke of Ngati Ranginui explains their commitment to restoring the mauri of awa for taonga species.
Des Heke of Ngati Ranginui explains their commitment to restoring water quality.

For Ngāti Ranginui, a deep-rooted connection to the land and water is at the core of their identity. Their focus centres on the mahi tuna, the eel, which holds profound significance.


"We are focusing our 'Te Mana o Te Wai' efforts on mahi tuna in acknowledging the value of mahinga kai. In this regard, 'Te Mana o te Tuna' serves as both a statement, a strategy, and a study."

Technology is viewed as a powerful tool to assist mahi tuna traditions and rejuvenate the habitats of this taonga (treasured) species.


"The real-time data analysis and integration with our Ngāti Ranginui of Tauranga Moana 'Te Mana o te Wai' GIS Portal is a perfect example of our commitment to technology to assist our mahi tuna traditions," says Heke.

With AquaWatch's state-of-the-art water measurement devices, they can closely monitor the quality of their rivers, enabling them to make informed decisions and protect our precious tuna.


Ko Waitangi Te Awa: Bridging the Gap Between Tradition and Science


On the other side of the river, Ko Waitangi Te Awa have their own objectives. Tana Apiata, representing the Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust, outlines what they are aiming to achieve:

"The primary objective of partnering with AquaWatch is to enable us as ahikaa of our Marae to communicate the status of our water in our own words. Through the use of the [this] waka, we can measure the impacts on the mauri of our awa as it happens. We are in a really exciting place right now with the weaving of our Mātauranga and science together so both sides of the story can be written."
Deploying an AquaWatch water quality monitoring device
Deploying an AquaWatch water quality monitoring device

The data collected by AquaWatch's monitoring devices is more than just numbers for this iwi (tribal group) - it is a language that speaks of the river's health and vitality. The data sets are available for their Kai Korero, the keepers of ancestral wisdom, enabling them to actively participate in decision-making processes.




Working alongside mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge)


The AquaWatch measuring devices bring a wealth of benefits to this collaboration and we look forward to strengthening the multi-generational insights and knowledge of mātauranga Māori with these scientific measures and support:

  • Actionable and Intuitive Data: Providing insights that empower informed decisions.

  • High-Frequency Water Quality Sampling: Ensuring that crucial changes are not missed.

  • Timely Data Delivery: Made accessible via cellular, satellite, and the internet when and where needed.

  • Email Alerts: Prompting swift responses to any water quality changes.

  • Full Customer Support: Real people ready to assist with questions and concerns.


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