Wai Ora Wai Māori – a kaupapa Māori assessment tool

TitleWai Ora Wai Māori – a kaupapa Māori assessment tool
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsAwatere, S., Robb M., Taura Y., Reihana K., & Harmsworth G.

The involvement and empowerment of Māori in freshwater decision-making can be facilitated by tools that enable Māori organisations such as iwi/hapū to assess the condition of freshwater. The kaupapa Māori assessment tool – Wai Ora Wai Māori – is one such tool. The assessment tool comprises of qualitative and quantitative measures for stated attributes consistent with the National Objectives Framework (NOF) bands for assessing and reporting standards and condition of selected attributes. This kaupapa Māori approach can be used to assess and articulate resource condition and impact (e.g. resource degradation, water quality, mauri) related to human activities and land management practices. It can also be used to measure and assess trends towards specific iwi/hapū goals and objectives or in relation to a stated outcome or vision for a resource or culturally significant area.
When used alongside scientifically based quantitative attributes and measures, the tool helps provide a robust, holistic, and complementary data set to inform freshwater management within a kaupapa-based assessment framework to measure progress on stated iwi/hapū aspirations and outcomes. The structure of the tool can be tailored for use by any other iwi/hapū/kaitiaki group wanting to apply their own values and attributes, while the methodology, measures, and process are consistent and generic.
We recommend that institutions developing plans and policy for improved freshwater management use this tool to improve collaboration, and to identify key attributes and measures that are meaningful and relevant to iwi/hapū groups. A meaningful partnership between institutions and iwi/Māori provides opportunities for iwi/Māori to participate effectively in all planning processes for freshwater management from technical advisory groups to governing entities. It is therefore important to have empowered, well-resourced, and well-informed iwi/Māori contributions at the core of freshwater management, particularly
at the technical level where recommendations and deliverables are required.