Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi: Maui.Tech case study

An iwi/Māori-led climate change case study, produced as part of the Maui.Tech project

Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi: Kainga Rua

This video case study from the rohe of Te Tai Hauāuru provides insights into the challenges, values and actions of the Ngaa Rauru iwi in the face of environmental changes, and their commitment to preserving their cultural heritage and connection to the land and waterways.

This video case study was produced as part of the Maui.Tech project. Read more about Maui.Tech.


  • Mike Neho (Ngaa Rauru) – Tumu Whakarae, Taranaki Iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi Trust
  • Kirstin McDonald (Ngaa Rauru) – involved in the development of the Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi Climate Change Strategy 2021
  • Potonga Neilson (Ngaa Rauru) – kaumatua

Click to read transcript

Potonga Neilson  00:14 
Aotea te Waka, Ko Turi tangata ki runga. Ko te Rōku o Whītī te hoe, ko Huripapa te hoe, ko Awhipapa te hoe, Toitu te hoe, Toirere te hoe, tēnei hikitia, ksss. Aue hi! [Aotea is our vessel, and the Turi the commander. Rōku Whītī, Awhipipi, Toitū, Toirere are the paddle’s, this we heed, ksss, confirmed!] 

Ki te taenga mai o Kupe ki konei, te kaihautu pea. Ko ngā iwi e noho mai nei Ko Ngā Aruhe. Tō rātou momo kai, Ngā Aruhe. He Iwi tūturu i mua o ngā waka nui i rongo ai tātou. [With the arrival of Kupe here, the commander there were iwi already occupying the lands. They were Ngāti Aruhe, this was their staple food, the bracken-fern.]

We were here before the so-called great migration — and we're still here. And we ain’t going nowhere. 

Trevor Moeke [Narrator]  01:12 
Te Tai Hauāuru. Home to the majestic Taranaki mountain, and the people Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi. Ngaa Rauru are working against the currents of climate change, and hope to use technology and innovation to prepare for changing environmental conditions. 

Mike Neho  01:31 
Ka neke ngā marae, tēnei i tēnei marae, Ko tata rawa ana ki te Waitōtara, ka kitea atu, mehemea ka waipukengia, ka mate te marae nei. Ki te mate te marae, ka aha te reo? ka ahangā tikanga? ka ahangā kawa? [The marae were moved here to this marae. Closer to the river of Waitōtara, which can be seen, if it floods the marae will disappear. If the marae is lost what will then become of the language, our customs and protocols?]

Trevor Moeke  01:52 
Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi have developed their climate change strategy that puts both culture and people at the center. They are concerned the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change on Ngaa Raurutanga could be devastating. 

Kirstin McDonald  02:12 
We have taken quite a small scale, look at the ecology of each rohe and try to empower hapū with information so that they can start making some real decisions about what needs to happen for their marae.  

Trevor Moeke  02:23 
With sea levels rising much faster than previously thought, the race is on to save what they can, including coastal marae, and kainga.

Kirstin McDonald  02:37 
We know that because we're going to have those high periods of intensive heat and then those torrential downpours, we know that the whenua is going to really struggle to recover. We're going back to a much more observational relationship with our environment.    

Kirstin McDonald  02:54 
We're at the mouth of the Whanganui river. But in Te Ao Māori we call it Kaihau o Kupe, and it's the beginning of our boundary. We stretch from Kaihau o Kupe, or the river mouth of Whanganui, all the way up to the Pātea River. It's a pretty extensive coastland rohe, and we have an intimate relationship with the ocean and our waterways within it. As with most of the country, the biodiversity has taken a bit of a hit over the last 200 years. Commercial activity on our waterways has had a significant impact on things like mahinga kai. Our ability to still get our tuna and our freshwater shellfish and koura – it's actually had a devastating impact already.  
Potonga Neilson  03:40 
One good indicator of the state of the environment is the fisheries. And if we look at the fisheries, things are in a very bad way. In my lifetime, fish numbers in all species are very, very low compared to what they were when I was young. Some have disappeared almost completely. Pātiki out here when I was young, you could not walk into the sea without treading on a flounder, on a pātiki. 

Kirstin McDonald  04:15 
For us that means our ability to manaaki our manuhiri in a way that's specifically unique to Ngaa Rauru,  that we would normally have populated our tables with if we had visitors, and it's very sad that we've already lost that. We're working with a number of organisations to see how we can translocate some that we've lost or you know, support the ones that we know are going to be going shortly. 

Trevor Moeke  04:39 
Ngaa Rauru whakapapa to the iconic Whanganui River, Aotearoa's third longest. Despite the groundbreaking Awa Tupua legislation, giving the Whanganui river legal personhood, kai stocks are running low. The river's biodiversity is under significant threat. 

Potonga Neilson  05:09 
When we look at ngā kōrero tuku iho, ki ahau [the narratives passed down, to me] – every living creature on this planet is related. And they all have rights. Even the fish in the sea have rights. We gotta go back to the Crown and get justice. We do not have justice. We do not have anything that the Treaty was meant to preserve for us. It's all gone. No more customary rights, no more papakāinga e noho mokemoke ana ōu mātou mokopuna huri noa i te motu [living as one and our descendants are living scattered and lonely across the country]. They're all lonely, they don't know why — because they got no papakāinga anymore. 

Kirstin McDonald  05:53 
It hurts us. Definitely our relationship with our whenua and our waterways. To be able to have access to and control of our resources in such a way that we can rediscover that ahi kaa, and that ability to manaaki our manuhiri [occupants of the land who can host our visitors according to tikanga]. We've been working on a number of initiatives from a whanau-hapū level and from an Iwi level to work with the community, and with the catchment collectives across all of our waterways really. And those are specifically around planting, education with schools, and talking to whanau about how we can make small changes in our everyday lives that will support the waterway's health. 

Mike Neho  06:33 
Ka whakatūngia tētehi kura, pērā i te 'innovation centre', hei kawe ī ēnei kōrero ki aua momo uri. [We established a school, like an innovation center, to pass the narratives on to our descendants.]

Te mea me noho a Ngā Rauru ki ngā rahu, ā Ngā Rauru anake. Engari me whakarite mātou te tuatahi. Mā tō mōhio he arā ngā āhuatanga e haere mai ana. Puta ana i ngā ringarina, ngā waewae o tēnā tamaiti, o tēnā tamaiti i roto i te kotahi rau tau. Nā reira ka taea ki te kaitiakitanga. [The thing is Ngā Rauru must return to their basket, and only Ngā Rauru. However, we must first of all prepare ourselves. Understanding there is a way to fix this. Through the hands and the feet on the ground of our young people over the next hundred years, we can become guardians.] 

Kirstin McDonald  07:29 
We need to give our kids control. They actually have the answers. 

Mike Neho  07:32 
Me tīmata nāia tonu nei i te whāngai atu te hangarau ki a tātou tamariki. [We must begin immediately to inform and feed our young people the ways in which technology can assist.]