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 web-based Estuarine Cultural Health Index (ECHI) Tool

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

Traditionally, Cultural Health Indices (CHI) provide generic cultural and ecological indictors limited to a defined target environment that incorrectly assume homogeneity of cultural ecosystems. Our ECHI acknowledges that knowledge, language and culture are locally derived and place dependent. The ECHI advances CHI theory and practice by researching and developing Māori-centred, hapū-mediated webbased tools for estuarine resilience/wellbeing. A participatory action research approach allows development of hapū-specific indicators based on diverse Māori realities. This whole-of-catchment ECHI addresses gaps in current CHI literature regarding connectivity theories, by synthesising multiple ECHI components in a completer expression of the wider cultural context of estuarine resilience. The ECHI empowers tino rangtiratanga and mana motuhake of hapū, enhancing cultural indicators uptake.

RA2 includes the following steps:

  • Co-development, Review and Testing of ECHI Prototype 1 (ECHI1);
  • Co-development and Critical Analysis of ECHI Prototype (ECHI2);
  • Regional and National Benefit Transfer of Web-Enabled Estuarine Cultural Health Index

Research Aim 2 Progress Updates

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.