How might we grow our understanding as a community the value of wai?

This is one of the questions we’re exploring as we evolve our wai kaupapa from increasing access and availability to wai as the drink of choice, towards growing and building an understanding of the value of wai.

The best place for us to grow and build our understanding was out paddling on the moana with locals John Kingi and Whetu Olsen from Kōkiri Marae Health and Social Services.

The experience of paddling on the waka deepened our connection to the whenua and moana as well as supporting kaimahi to develop skills and build mātauranga Māori on best practice around wai and the whakapapa of our waterways.

“Being out and experiencing the rejuvenating properties of the moana helped the team to create a more authentic relationship to Te Awa Kairangi whilst provoking important kōrero on history and tikanga” says Eddie Edmonds, Healthy Families Hutt Valley Lead Systems Innovator.

“The paddle restored our wairua and strengthened our hauora, this connection to wai is an integral part of a Māori view on health and wellbeing”.     

As we continue to build on our understanding of wai, we also have an opportunity to navigate and influence local conversations on water infrastructure including participation in the Three Waters Reform programme.

Water has mauri, a vitality or essence that supports life. The actions we each take can enhance mauri, or they can diminish mauri. The mauri of water affects the mauri of people.

To create a future where our people thrive we need to put the value of wai at the centre of our thinking.

Ko te wai te ora o ngā mea kātoa – Water is the life giver of all things