Phase One focuses on the development of an enhanced web-enabled Estuarine Cultural Health Index (ECHI), with an oral history critical enquiry of local iwi/hapū knowledge, and will examine how this can be integrated into contemporary coastal co-management. This phase is led by Caine Taiapa of Manaaki te Awanui in Tauranga moana, with WakaDigital Ltd undertaking the Information Technology development and having a significant role to play in knowledge uptake and benefit transfer of  OTOT toolsets throughout New Zealand.

Research Aim 1 (RA1) – Reframing Mātauranga Māori in a Contemporary Context

Health and resilience of estuaries (ancestral landscapes) should not be considered in isolation from cultural survival of hapū/iwi. Tools produced in Research Aims 2-5 address urgent problems with frontline co-management decision making, but have limited contribution to sustained, long term cultural survival and wellbeing of local hapū/iwi and their ancestral estuarine environments. Oral history research addresses this by enhancing the mana of hapū through reclaiming mātauranga Māori and reframing it for application in a contemporary management context, thereby providing a means to help hapū regain and reassert traditional values. Kaupapa Māori is both theory and transformative praxis. The focus of Kaupapa Māori is two-fold: it provides a critique of existing structures and seeks transformative strategies, thus creating space for other cultural perspectives to be recognised and validated. Critical reflection, reclamation and reconciliation is a fundamental feature of the research.

RA1 includes the following steps:

  • Relationship Development with Hapū;
  • Reclaiming hapū Māori;

Research Aim 1 Progress Updates

Research Aim 2 (RA2) – Development of a Cultural Tools for Estuarine Health
web-based Estuarine Cultural Health Index (ECHI) Tool

Develop an Estuarine Cultural Heath Index (ECHI) informed by hapū engagement and critical literature.

Two areas of research are being undertaken for this Research Aim:

  1. Development of the Pataka Korero by Manaaki te Awanui in Tauranga Moana – see updates here … Updates to follow.
  2. Develop a web-based Estuarine Cultural Heath Index (ECHI) by WakaDigital with Te Arawa – see updates here


The Oranga Taiao Oranga Tāngata Project builds on the work undertaken in MTM, and will develop toolsets that assist Iwi and Hapū with co-management of Estuaries. By restoring the health of the Estuarine Environment, we also enhance health of the People.