Mātauranga Māori and the Ministry

Incorporating mātauranga Māori into environmental policy adds value to New Zealand’s resource management system. We are committed to reflecting the Crown-Māori relationship under the Treaty in environmental policy and resource management arrangements.

Mātauranga Māori

The Wai262 claim explains mātauranga as "the unique Māori way of viewing the world", encompassing both traditional knowledge and culture. Mātauranga is considered a taonga .

Other taonga include:

  • te reo Māori (the Māori language)
  • wāhi tapu (places of significance)
  • mahinga kai (food gathering places)

Māori customary values and practices

Some common customary Māori values include:

  • manaakitanga (generosity)
  • whanaungatanga (relationships)
  • kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

These are all deeply linked to Māori wellbeing and sense of identity. The values are upheld through customary practices.

Customary practices

Some common customary practices with te taiao include:

  • gathering plants and clay for traditional resource making
  • maintaining kaimoana levels through rāhui
  • Feeding our kaumātua (elders) when diving for kaimoana 
  • collecting leaves or roots for rongoā
  • observing the māmarataka for planting or harvesting.

Having a healthy environment is integral to a thriving people.

Mātauranga Māori and MfE

Mātauranga Māori and western science

Mātauranga Māori and western science each have their own roles to play within our work. Likened to a braided river with many pathways. When they cross we have the opportunity to explore the knowledge systems together.

We apply what we know and learn to:

  • environmental reporting
  • developing legislation, regulations and policy.

The National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity

Hutia te rito o te harakeke.
Kei hea te kōmako, e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
Māku e kī atu
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

When the centre of the flax bush is picked
Where will the bellbird sing?
You ask me what is the greatest thing in the world?
My reply is
It is people, it is people, it is people

Hutia te Rito is the concept that underpins the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity.

It recognises:

  • intrinsic connection of people to the environment
  • kaitiakitanga
  • connection between the heath of te taiao and the heath of people.

To apply this policy decision makers are asked to recognise:

  • te hauora o te tangata (the health of the people)
  • te hauora o te koiora (the health of indigenous biodiversity)
  • te hauora o te taonga (the health of the species and ecosystems)
  • te hauora o te taiao (the health of the wider environment).

Hutia te Rito also reflects Te Tiriti o Waitangi by providing greater involvement for Māori.

National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 and Te Mana o te Wai

Te Mana o te Wai was developed as an update to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

Te Mana o te Wai (the mana of water) is the integrated and holistic well-being of the water.

Some of the changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 

  • Te Mana o te Wai is considered and recognised in freshwater management.
  • Regional councils and communities, including tangata whenua, should work together.
  • Decisions about freshwater management should be made with the health and well-being of water at the forefront.
  • Recognise interactions ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea) between land use and water throughout a catchment.
  • Clearer explanation of what a healthier water body means for human health.