Webinar: Te Mana o te Wai - ensuring the life-supporting capacity of freshwater

Te Mana o te Wai is the fundamental concept of the Essential Freshwater regulations introduced by the NZ Government in 2020. Here, Dr Mahina-a-rangi Baker from Kāhui Wai Māori talks about how we are lifting the standards for caring for freshwater. Te Mana o te Wai means the first priority must be to ensure the life-supporting capacity of freshwater.

Te Mana o te Wai, principally, is about lifting that standard for how we care for freshwater.

And recognising that first priority being about ensuring the life-supporting capacity of water.

So that’s things like protecting wetlands, ensuring fish passage up and down catchments.

Ensuring that practice on farm is improving.

Being more conscious in our decision-making with regards to freshwater, and putting the water first.

Te Mana o te Wai requires us to give effect to two sets of values.

The first set of values that New Zealanders that are relatively familiar with: good governance, stewardship, and care and respect for water.

The second set of values, which are Māori values, being Mana whakahaere, which is generally around the way that iwi and hapū wish to govern the use of land, the use of water.

Kaitiakitanga, or our own unique practices around the care and protection of taonga, including water, and Manaakitanga, or our own cultural philosophy around sharing, equity, reciprocity, and it’s only by properly engaging iwi and hapū, at the catchment scale, that you can really interpret and express those values.

So the National Policy Statement gives that general direction in terms of what those high level values are.

It then directs regional councils to have a relationship with iwi and hapū to understand, from their perspective, what does giving expression to those values mean for them.

And that’s the work that’s now cut out for our communities to do, in partnership with iwi and hapū.

Webinar: National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management - vision setting and value identification

Factsheet: Te Mana o te Wai

Guidance and reports: Te Mana o te Wai

Supporting information: