top of page

Environment & Natural Resources

Our natural environment provides our physical sustenance as well as being a reminder of tipuna and the spiritual aspect of our existence. The health of our environment has a direct influence on the health of our people. We are charged to preserve and protect our air, water and lands, and the resources within for the benefit and survival of ourselves and our mokopuna.
The Kahungunu ki Uta, Kahungunu ki Tai, Marine and Freshwater Fisheries Strategic Plan (KKUKKT) sets out the aspirations of Kahungunu for the use and management of marine and freshwater fisheries within our rohe. KKUKKT seeks to reintegrate Kahungunu's customary non-commercial and customary commercial fisheries.  The strategy prioritises local management in accordance with tikanga and supports the mana of hapū. Download the KKUKKT Strategy HERE. To view it on this website, click on Kahungunu plans.


Annual Report – Environmental and Natural Resources 2021-2022 - Te Taiao me ōna Rawa

Rangatiratanga and management over our waterways, and how our rights and responsibilities are given effect, will be the most significant issue over the next decade.  For the first time under MMP one party has had a parliamentary majority to form a government opening the way for significant, fundamental changes to the legislative framework for resource management.


Progressing Ngāti Kahungunu rights, and responsibilities to natural resources, e.g. water (High Court Statement of Claim alongside Ngāi Tahu and other iwi) as well as WAI262 kaupapa (Māori control over Māori things restoring tino rangatiratanga over our taonga) are not only logical kaupapa but necessary.


The 3 waters reforms ‘offer’ an opportunity for improvement in the management of wastewater, stormwater and drinking water however, there is also the risk that little will materially change in terms of environmental and health outcomes.  Crucially, drinking water is not a higher enough priority in resource management and communities continue to come after other water uses e.g. irrigation.  The proposed resource management reforms do not fully address this and could potentially and ironically provide for further water quality degradation. 


Putting aside national level policy and law, Regional Plans and catchment plans provide the most direction and influence in how our resources are managed, or mismanaged.  To our disappointment, the recently released Hearings decision on a catchment management plan for the Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Karamu and Heretaunga waters (the TANK Plan) favours ‘economic sustainability’ over environmental sustainability and Te Mana o Te Wai.


Although strictly speaking the Taiao unit does not tend to commit to resource consent applications, instead preferring to support local tribal authorities within which the proposed activity might occur, we do commit on a case-by-case basis, if there is a strategic advantage in doing so.  This has been the case with a small number of consent applications over the last year, and it has been satisfying finally settling on conditions for two major kaupapa.  Firstly, the Wairoa Wastewater Discharge Consents and secondly HBRC Global Gravel Extraction Consents both taking years of work and engagement pushing for improvements (on paper).  However, the bigger challenge now is promoting improvements through the various management committees of these consents, and supporting tangata whenua to make the operation of these consents better.  The Taiao unit deals with these issues and challenges regularly, promoting our own ‘cultural standards and limits’ constantly. We are able to interpret data and information ourselves as opposed to merely supporting the paternalistic solutions offered.  We continue to be a voice towards sustainable management with Kahungunu vision, values, strategy and objectives in mind.


Te Mana o Te Wai offers a new legal framework of putting our waters, the ecology, mana and well-being first, then health of the people and last commercial imperatives.  However, the reality is a lot harder and requires an about-turn from past resource management approaches. 


This year’s annual Kahungunu Fish Hook Summit showcased mahi from across the rohe of Ngati Kahungunu, with presentations from 10 tribal authorities (iwi authorities, PSGE’s and Taiwhenua).  Next year we hope to have presentations based on strategic and collective Taiao mahi that relates to multiple tribal authorities.


Lastly, the research and monitoring projects we are supporting help provide a break from the constant advocacy trials and tribulations with government.

  • Whanau, hapū, stream monitoring – supporting whanau of Bridge Pa to understand the issues related to their waters.  Including building capability and data around stream flows and water quality.  While also working with leading scientists to improve their understanding and various scenarios based on marae / community aspirations.

  • Tangaroa Tohu Mana, Tangaroa Tohu Mauri (Marine Cultural Health Programme – Ahuriri hapu, Napier Port).  Provided advice and support for programme development to assess the health and wellbeing of the coastal and estuarine waters of Ahuriri hapū.

  • Te Whakaheke o Te Wai (GNS, Heretaunga Taiwhenua et al.) - understanding the age and pathways above and below ground of our waters; groundwater modelling, with the incorporation of mātauranga Māori and our values.

  • Braided Rivers (Lincoln Agritech, et al.) – better understanding of subsurface processes occurring in braided river systems including the Ngaruroro River e.g. aquifer recharge and a new concept of the Braid Plain Aquifer.

  • Commercial fishing - Sustainable commercial fishing technology with Rick Burch and Karl Warr, aboard the F.V. Nancy Glen and F.V. Chips, respectively.  Although two different projects they both focus on better selectivity of target and non-target species.  We are also supporting a proposal to reduce bottom trawling impacts.  In summer we will be seeking volunteers and potential workers to be part of some of the research.

  • Climate change - effects of sea level rise on inanga spawning sites.  Supervising PhD candidate Waikato University – Leana Barriball, Māori Advisor – Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

  • Hawke’s Bay Marine and Coast group (HBMaC) - a HBRC facilitated research group that we are members of, with the current focus on ecosystem based management, and using a system mapping approach, for sustainable management in the coastal marine environment – sustainable seas project.


I look forward to continuing to work alongside Taiao kaimahi as capacity grows, while offering our experience and expertise and vice versa. 

Links to our submissions, Fish Hook Summit, relevant Consents Conditions, WAI 262 webpage and presentations from the National Iwi Chairs Forum summarising some of the larger issues and plans forward can be found on our website (


Ngaio Tiuka and Shade Smith

Ngati Kahungunu Taiao Unit

bottom of page