top of page

Māori-Owned Oyster Farm Utilises Waka5 to Enhance Water Quality and Foster Education

At Ōhiwa in the Bay of Plenty tradition, innovation, and community empowerment is converging at Tio Ōhiwa, a Māori-owned oyster farm, to improve outcomes for te taiao (our environment) and future prospects for rangatahi (youth).

Tauira from Ōpōtiki College at the oyster farm.

Under the stewardship of Wini Geddes and the engagement of her whānau (family), this innovative business is looking to improve aquaculture practices by utilising AquaWatch's real-time water insights to build on their commitment to sustainability and cultural values.

Last year, when the Ngāti Awa whānau gained ownership of Ohiwa Oysters, Wini immediately recognised the critical importance of water quality to the health and productivity of the farm. Determined to enhance monitoring and management practices, she became one of the first to embrace the latest generation of AquaWatch’s continuous water quality monitoring devices: the Waka5.

The partnership between mātauranga Māori and AquaWatch’s hi-tech water monitoring tools is enabling Wini and her team to make informed decisions based on factual, real time data. This approach not only ensures better oyster health it also minimises unnecessary shut down and red-tape, allowing for more efficient operations.

"With the AquaWatch Waka5 we have gained a newfound understanding of our water resources, empowering us to safeguard our oysters and sustain our livelihood," says Wini. 
“Oysters are natural filters, they clean the water, and through the use of the waka we can monitor key water health indicators like turbidity, temperature and oxygen levels to make sure they’re growing well and are healthy.”

The impact of this data focused approach provided by the Waka5 extends beyond the boundaries of the oyster farm. Wini and her team are also starting to actively share the data with local schools, engaging rangatahi (youth) in the significance of environmental stewardship.

Schools like Opotiki College are looking to integrate this real-time monitoring into their science programme, providing students with hands-on learning opportunities that bridge traditional knowledge with modern technology.

“The rangatahi are really interested in this mix between technology and the environment,” says Wini. “The ability to give them hands-on input and experiences, and see changes in the water as they happen is really engaging. The longer-term plan is for them to be able to login to see the live results in their classroom”.

Tauira (students) and Craig, with the guidance and assistance of staff feeding the whai (stingrays) that swim to the oyster farm during a high tide.

Tio Ōhiwa is empowering Māori community with skills, jobs and future learning potential. Simon and Wini Geddes, alongside their whānau, have transformed the farm into a whānau-owned enterprise, fostering a sense of manaakitanga (hospitality) and whanaungatanga (kinship) among its workers.

"We are farming oysters, providing food from the shared resource that is our moana as well as nurturing a legacy," says Wini. “Partnering with AquaWatch helps us with our ambitions for sustainability, education and employment for our people."

As Tio Ōhiwa continues to thrive, it serves as a testament to the possibilities of combining tradition and innovation, culture and science. Through unwavering dedication, Wini and her team are growing an industry, and supporting a sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.



bottom of page