Water is the life giver of all things.

Wai represents the life blood of Papatūānuku, the tears of Ranginui and is the domain of Tangaroa. It is a taonga, an essential element of life for Māori and plays a central role in a tribe’s hinengaro, tinana and wairua state, both in spiritual and non-spiritual worlds.

The condition of our wai, our rivers, lakes, ground water, pools and springs is a reflection of the state of the whenua, which in turn reflects the health of tangata whenua.

The concept of Wai Ora captures the importance of how the state of our environments where we live, learn, work and play have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our people.

Recently, our Lead Systems Innovator Eddie Edmonds began his journey to explore the Wai Ora system. Part of this journey involved undertaking a Wai Ora programme through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi to gain skills and an undertanding of sustainability practices. By building our capability in this area we can then work towards applying what we have learnt to local coastal and freshwater bodies, based on mātauranga Māori from local iwi experts. 

Eddie says “I learnt a lot about the different tides of the ocean and how the weather can affect our coastlines. I think we are very lucky in Wellington to have east, south and west coasts. We also discussed the history of mana whenua and how some of the local areas got their names, for example Ngutu Kākā, Pipinui, Te Mana O Kupe and many more.”

Being able to care for, develop, sustain and enhance the environment for the benefit of marae, whānau, hapū and iwi is fundamental in supporting the enrichment of our eco system for future generations. 

How might we bring an understanding to our communities, the value of wai?

Ko te wai te ora o ngā mea kātoa