Ngati Porou: Maui.Tech case study

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

Ngati Porou: Te Urunga o te Ra

In this video case study from the rohe of Te Tairāwhiti, participants share how Ngati Porou are experiencing the effects of climate change, adapting to the changing climate, and approaching the challenges of reducing emissions. In this video, they discuss the cultural and environmental significance of the Waiapu River and the surrounding area. They discuss the environmental challenges Ngati Porou are facing, and their commitment to protect their whenua by building sustainable practices.

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


  • Hilton Collier (Ngati Porou), General Manager, Pakihiroa Farms Ltd (Subsidiary of the Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou)
  • Tui Warmenhoven (Ngati Porou, Ngāti Uepohatu & Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), Board Member, TROPNUI 
  • April Papuni (Ngati Porou), Ngati Porou kuia

Click to read transcript

April Papuni  00:30 
Ko Hikurangi taku maunga, Ko Waiapu taku awa, Ko Te Riu o Waiapu taku kāinga, Ko Ngati Porou taku iwi, Ko April Pāpuni ahau, nō reira tēnā koutou katoa. [Hikurangi is my mountain, Waiapu is my river, the Valley of Waiapu is my home. Ngati Porou are my people. I am April Pāpuni, greetings to you all.]
Trevor Moeke [Narrator]  00:54 
Te Tairāwhiti. Famous for the sacred flow of the awa Waiapu and the iconic maunga Hikurungi. Home to the tribal enterprise Pakihiroa Farms. 
Hilton Collier 01:11 
So we are up here on the whakairo [traditional wood carving] on the side of Mount Hikurangi. These whakairo represent our great tipuna Māui who fished up Te-Ika-a-Māui, and who is been erected here to provide a compass for everyone to come back home. It's hugely symbolic for Ngati Porou, that  Pakihiroa continues to operate on the side of Mount Hikurangi in a way that is consistent with their expectations of us to act as custodians kaitiaki of both the land and of course, our tribal River, the Waiapu. 
Trevor Moeke  01:59 
The Waiapu is a complex river system that has sustained Ngati's for generations. Here the tuna, guardian of these waters with the Ngati Porou salmon — the kahawai – make their great migration from the Pacific Ocean. Flanked by the Raukūmara Ranges to the west, the rich and abundant resources of the Waiapu Valley proved favorable for tīpuna rangatira. 
Tui Warmenhoven 02:33 
Around about 1890 and over a 30 year period, approximately 80% of the Waiapu catchment was deforesed. The Waiapu catchment exhibits very heavy rainfall patterns and soft soil geology. We are losing our land we're losing land fast. Waiapu has world class sedimentation for a relatively small catchment. And so what causes that sedimentation is the rapid erosion of our whenua into our rivers. 
April Papuni  03:22 
We know when you go through to Waiapu, the buildup of silt is now quite high. It's added to how deep the river is flowing, and  in fact, how fast the river flows and which way the river flows. And that affects the land. The changes have been drastic within the last five years. The flooding every winter, the left over logs from the slash and the forestry upstream that come and block the river mouth. The river mouth actually moves. Where it is now is not where it was even last year. 
Hilton Collier 04:18 
We're standing here at 1150 meters above sea level on the side of a 1700 meter mountain. The climate has always changed here. What we are seeing is a greater frequency of droughts and flooding. And the severity of those events is becoming more significant each time. Today we have just come to the end of a dry spell that has stretched back to October 2019. So erosion is a significant concern for us here. This three and a half thousand-hectare property, we have 2000 hectares of native bush that have been fenced off that we have excluded stock to allow that bush to continue to regenerate for those future generations. We have 215 hectares of pine forest. We've got 115 hectares of eucalyptus. In both cases those plantings were done to mitigate the erosion risk on this property. 
What we hope is, in time, the eucalyptus will revert to native forests. So we will have taken a revenue stream from the carbon credits and allowed the land to heal by regenerating fully to native bush. So future generations will visit Pakihiroa, and we hope they will see a farm that is still farming livestock in some way, but has a multi enterprise land use that continues to provide for current and future generations. 
April Papuni  06:08 
Wai is life, the 'ā' and the 'ī' is the female and the male element. And within that we have the combinations through everything that is living. Nā ngā tohunga mai rānō e kōrero tēnā, mahi atu [the sages in the old times would say, do it] — so that we can live in a balance, and you cannot have one that will upset that balance. The land Papatūānuku, Ranginui, they’re actually telling us every day what we need to do, they have set in place rhythms with the sun, with the planets, with the tides, that we work with.