Short description of the Māori community

Our community is made up of direct descendents from our ancestors; Te Huia and Rangiwherowhero. Our Trust is made up of over 700 beneficiaries and is from the Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Apakura tribes which has over 60,000 overall affiliated tribal members. Previously, I was a  Chief Executive of the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board and I am now Chair of the Te Huia & Rangiwherowhero Trust with a specific focus on 6 priority areas; Wharerimu (our homeland), Taiao (our natural environment), Tahua (enterprise developments), Whakapapa (family prosperity and connection), Ahurea (culture, language, history and knowledge) and Administration (finances, management).

Languages spoken by the community

Te Reo Māori (The Māori Language)

Location of community

37°33'59.3"S, 175°01'09.1"E

Can you explain how your community relates to the environment?

We are responsible for the care and protection of our waterways, our lands, the forests and bush on our lands, the wildlife (fish, birds, lizards etc) and the air (through carbon credits released through our forests).

Can you explain how your community relates to water?

Our people have an intrinsic connection to water and we understand the connection between water, the moon and ourselves with the impacts between us all. The quality and use of water is fundamental to our wellbeing. Therefore, finding better ways to keep our waters clean and our environment protected for future and current generations is critically important to the sustainability of our people, environment, history and wellbeing.

Tell us about yourself and your relation to water.

My surname means, Ocean Navigator and my family have a long connection to the oceans. Our tribe is located in the Waikato region which is named after the great river that flows through our region and out to the Pacific Ocean. Our lands have a number of streams and rivers that flow through it and we are deeply connected to our waterways. Our ancient knowledge shares the genealogy between us and the our natural environment, the rocks, the fish, the eels, the water, the plant-life, the stars, the moon, the sun and beyond.

Tell us about your role within your community and if it is related to water, how so? 

Our Trust has a clear focus on the importance of sustainable water systems. As the Chair of the Trust I have overseen the installation of sustainable water supply and storage, and lead the focus on water quality and care of our waterways that traverse through our ancestral lands.

Is there an important water body on your land? If so, can you name and describe it? 

The name of our stream is Ngakoaohia which is our revered healing stream of our ancestors that is in our guardianship.

In your or your communities view, what is the most important aspect humanity should act upon with regards to water?

We have a saying, “ka ora te whenua, ka ora te tangata” which translates to “heal the Earth, heal the people” – we believe that when the land is well, we are well. And the same goes for our waterways which are equally important. “Ka ora te wai” - when the water is healthy, “ka ora te whenua” -  the earth is healthy. Wellbeing is interconnected for Māori and we recognise the vital importance of Oranga – wellbeing between water, earth and people.

How do you ensure access to safe drinking water in the community, today?

We have installed a bore for drinking on our community lands but we need to do better at capturing rainwater for storing and drinking.

Do you have canalisation, and sanitary facilities in area inhabited by your community? Are community members using them and how satisfied are you with those?

Yes we do have canalisation and sanitary facilities that we are using as a community, but they can be improved.

Can you explain how your community relates to space?

Māori have a connection to the stars, the moon, the sun and all of space. Our ancient genealogy connects us to the cosmos. We use space to guide our planting, fishing, hunting and other activities to function in life, and to undertake the roles required of us within our communities. We also use the ancient teachings as guidance for our understandings today, we refer to these teachings as “pūrakau”.

Can you explain how your community relates to technology?

We have access to technology and use it in all aspects of our daily lives. But, there is limited functionality on our ancestral homelands where we only have power and telephone lines.

How does your community pass on knowledge related to the environment (e.g., via narratives, songs, paintings and murals, cloth prints, sculptures, other forms of art, etc.)?

Narratives, songs, art, Kapahaka (cultural performances), workshops, community events, gardens

Which changes in the environment have you or elders in your community observed?

Seasonal changes altered by climate change are impacting how we plant and what we can plant.

What are the water-related changes you have observed on the land your community lives on? If you have observed changes detrimental to the environment, what is the community currently doing to counteract these changes?

We face issues with: 

  • Water quality in rivers
  • Quality of groundwater

Have you encountered cases where space technology applications were used for water/environmental monitoring, management etc? (Please provide examples if any: in general, or within your community, in order to understand need for educational workshop, awareness etc)


If there is something you would like to know about space technology and Earth observation, what would it be?

Space technology applications to help us assess and monitor changes in our lands and waterways. Better technology to help us depict our narratives and share our knowledge systems.

What is your favourite aggregate state of water and why is that so?

Liquid! Because water in this state has more uses.