Integrated Catchment Management

Māori present day

Maori have a spiritual union which ties them to the land (whenua) and sea (moana) in which they settled in, and the intimate cultural and spiritual relationship binds them with the natural resources of that geographic area. This cultural and spiritual relationship gives rights of mana whenua or collective authority over a geographic area. It also places responsibilities on iwi as kaitiaki (guardians) for the management of natural resources in these areas. Significant cultural resources and historic and cultural sites are found in the Motueka catchment and across the northern South Island region (Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka-a-Maui).

Treaty Claims

Today, Maori now own or administer a fraction of what they once owned or had collective authority over. The principal modes of land alienation in the region were:

Local iwi, through a number of Maori organisations, have lodged a large number of Treaty of Waitangi claims for the return of “lands, estates, forests, resources” within the region of Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka-a-Maui (Te Tauihu).

Claims are mainly being addressed within the Waitangi Tribunal Rangahaua Whanui District 13: Northern South Island. District 13 comprises 3.4 million acres at the top of the South Island. The district boundary starts at Kahurangi Point on the West Coast, heads south-east to the Cobb Reservoir, then south to Nelson Lakes, at which point it turns north east and follows the Awatere River to its mouth at the northern end of Clifford Bay on the east coast of the northern South Island. About 10 claims related to the region have been lodged by various organisations to date.

Claims relating to the region involve the following iwi: Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Kuia, Rangitane, Poutini Kai Tahu, and Waitaha. Many of these claims are presently listed under the Waitangi Tribunal hearings, particularly, for example, the Treaty claims: Wai 785: Te Tau Ihu northern South Island Inquiry; Wai 594: Ngati Rarua lands and resources; Wai 607: Te Atiawa/Ngati Awa ki te Tau Ihu lands and resources”; Wai 723: “Ngati Tama lands, forests, fisheries, and resources”.

For a summary of land losses in the Waitangi Tribunal district 13, readers are refered to Professor Alan Wards National Overview and, for a fuller discussion, Dr G A Phillipsons two volumes of Rangahaua Whanui Northern South Island district report.

Summary information regarding these claims can be found at Waitangi Tribunal website.

Maori organisations in the region

Today many different types of governance structures, such as trusts and incorporations, have been established to administer remaining Maori owned land and resources. Many of the Maori organisations inside and outside of the region network effectively, especially those with similar values and aspirations.

Maori organisations are now taking on a wide range of active roles to provide the vision and leadership for Maori cultural, economic, environmental and social development.

Two prominent Maori organisations actively involved in Maori development and advancement in Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka-a-Maui and across New Zealand include: Wakatu Incorporation and Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust (NRAIT).

Other organisations more focussed on iwi resource management and holistic environmental management are Tiakina te Taiao Ltd.

Wakatu Incorporation

Wakatu Incorporation is a Maori businesss of Land and Sea "He Taonga Tuku Iho" , based in Te Tauihu-o-te-Waka-a-Maui (Te Tauihu), and currently has an asset base of approximately $90 million. It was established in 1977, under New Zealand Government directives, to take over the administration of some 1400 hectares of Maori reserve land, which was originally set aside as a condition of purchase by the New Zealand company in 1841.

The New Zealand Company was first established in the 1830's to facilitate the migration of colonists to New Zealand from England, Australia, and Europe and purchased thousands of hectares of Maori owned land through a series of dubious sales. Within this land settlement system Maori were relegated to Maori reserves away from colony settlements. From 1842 to 1977 Maori reserve land in the Nelson-Motueka district was administered on behalf of its owners by a succession of Crown appointed Boards, Commissioners and Trustees. From the 1880s this land was subject to perpetual lease.

Today Wakatu Incorporation represents a very progressive Maori business with a diverse investment portfolio in horticulture, wine, forestry, property, tourism, dairy farming, fisheries and mussel farming. It has around 3,200 share holding beneficiaries, who are descendants of the original owners from the principal iwi, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Koata, Te Atiawa, and Ngati Tama.

The Wakatu Incorporation website - governance, networks, history.

Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust (NRAIT)

Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust (NRAIT) was formed in 1993 under the NRAIT Empowering Act. It was created to manage property on behalf of the original Maori land owners in the Motueka. Since the formation of the Trust, the assets (resources) that were returned have been nurtured and developed to their current position. Businesses include horticulture, viticulture, fisheries, and property.

NRAIT’s vision statement – To advance the cause of our people in every way possible and to preserve and promote our culture for posterity.

NRAIT has both commercial cultural and social functions and imperatives. The Trust also provides educational grants.

Tohu Wines Ltd

Tohu Wines Ltd was the first indigenous wine company established in New Zealand in 1998. It was born out of a mutual vision of the three Maori entities, Wakatu Incorporation, Ngati Rarua Atiawa Iwi Trust (NRAIT), and Wi Pere Trust Gisborne.

Tohu wines philosophy is based on producing and marketing high quality indigenous wines for export markets. Tohu Wines Ltd. is now a strong financial company and major exporter. The vineyards are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing of New Zealand.

Māori organisations and Māori networks

General information about Māori networks, Māori organisations and Māori culture can be found at the following sites.

Government departments

Maori culture

Maori business networks

Maori language and internet networks

Learning and education

Maori news

Other important links include:

Waitangi Tribunal

The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 with the passing of the Treaty of Waitangi Act. The Act provided the necessary framework to set up a tribunal to hear, research, debate, and document Māori claims in relation to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 and make recommendations to the New Zealand Government regarding these claims or Māori grievances, relating to issues such as Māori alienation of land, illegal purchase of land, loss of land and resources, indigenous peoples rights, and intellectual property rights.

The Treaty of Waitangi, a partnership contract between the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa and the British Crown, was signed in New Zealand on the 6th February 1840. Almost 500 Māori chiefs signed the Treaty after it passed around the country during that year.

The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti O Waitangi) was made up of three main articles and was written in Māori and in English.


The preamble of the English version states the British intentions were to:

The Maori text has a slightly different emphasis. It suggests that the Queen's main promises to Maori were to:

The Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti O Waitangi) was made up of three main articles.

The First Article

In the Maori text of the first article, Maori gave the British a right of governance, whereas in the English text, Maori ceded 'sovereignty'. One of the problems that faced the original translators of the English draft of the Treaty was that 'sovereignty' in the British understanding of the word had no direct Maori translation. Instead, the translators used 'kawanatanga', a transliteration of the word 'governance', which was then in current use.

As a result, in this article, Maori ceded to the Queen a right of governance in return for the promise of protection, while retaining the authority they always had over their own affairs.

The Second Article

The Maori version of the second article uses the word 'rangatiratanga' in promising to uphold the authority that tribes had always had over their lands and taonga. This choice of wording emphasises status and authority.

In the English text, the Queen guaranteed to Maori the undisturbed possession of their properties, including their lands, forests, and fisheries, for as long as they wished to retain them. This text emphasises property and ownership rights.

The second article provides for land sales to be effected through the Crown. This gave the Crown the right of pre-emption in land sales. The Waitangi Tribunal, after reading the instructions for the Treaty provided by Lord Normanby, concluded that the purpose of this provision was not just to regulate settlement but to ensure that each tribe retained sufficient land for its own purposes and needs.

The Third Article

In the third article, the Crown promised to Maori the benefits of royal protection and full citizenship.

The Epilogue

In the epilogue, the signatories acknowledge that they have entered into the full spirit of the Treaty. These words are important, for it is the principles of the Treaty, rather than the meaning of its strict terms, that the Waitangi Tribunal must determine today.

In doing this, the Tribunal must have regard to cultural meanings of words, the surrounding circumstances, comments made at the time, and the parties' objectives, as far as these can be gathered from other sources. The variations between the two texts become less problematic if these other factors are taken into consideration.

The Principles of the Treaty

The function of the Waitangi Tribunal is to investigate whether matters complained of are inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. For the purposes of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, the Tribunal has exclusive authority to determine the meaning and effect of the Treaty as embodied in the two texts. In doing this, the Tribunal has stated some basic principles it has found should guide Crown and Maori actions. These include:

Māori history

General information on Māori history is given at:

Indigenous networks

Further information on indigenous networks, issues, and indigenous knowledge and values can be found at a number of international sites including: