Ngātiwai: Maui.Tech case study

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

Ngātiwai: Ngā Wai ki Tai

In this video case study from the rohe of Te Taitokerau, the kōrero of the participants reflects the concerns and perspectives of Ngātiwai regarding climate change, environmental preservation, and the challenges they face as a coastal community with a strong cultural connection to moana and whenua.

The participants emphasise the importance of self-determination and mana motuhake (self-governance) for Ngātiwai in addressing climate change challenges, and the importance of resourcing and empowering Māori communities to be part of the solution for climate change. This case study also underscores the importance of preserving their cultural heritage and sharing mātauranga Māori to protect the whenua and environment.

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


  • Aperehama Edwards (Ngātiwai), Chair, Ngātiwai Trust Board

  • Hūhana Lyndon (Ngātiwai), CEO, Ngātiwai Trust Board

Click to read transcript

Aperahama Edwards  00:12 
Ngā kōrero, ko ngā mana katoa o Ngātiwai, kei te moana, kei ngā Taniwha o te moana, me ō rātou manawa, ko te timatanga mai pea o a taua kōrero, ngā tauparapara katoa, ngā takutaku karakia katoa, ka whakakapia ki ngā kupu e pēnei ana. [The narratives, and all mana of Ngātiwai reside and come from in the ocean, the supernatural beings of the ocean and their beating heart, is where we begin our conversations, all our chants, our reciting of incantations all end in the reciting of these words:]

Ka turuturu ā tai, ka turuturu ā uta, whano, whano, tū mai te toki, haumie, hui e taiki e. [Both land and sea are permanent, together in agreeance we say, tāiki e!]

E manu, kawea i ngā kī ki roto pou, e rua ngā kohua tatau ki runga o rākaumangamanga kei tahuna atu te tapu, te riri e… whai mai rā ki a au. [Manu, take these narratives and implant them into our pillars, lest they be burnt and the sacredness of these stories is lost and the angst of our people… join and follow me.] 

Trevor Moeke [Narrator] 01:06 
Wai māori: clean and pure water imbued with the mauri of life, the breath of ngā Atua Māori. The essential element behind Ngātiwai's long held ocean knowledge ceremonies and traditions. 

Aperahama Edwards  01:23 
Koina tēnei iwi o Ngātiwai, hei uri hakaheke nō te tupuna nei a Manaia, a Manaia i ahu mai i Hawaikii, e ai ki ō mātou tūpuna mātua i roto o Ngātiwai a Manaia, he uri  whakaheke nā Māui-Mua. [The people of Ngātiwai are the descendants of the ancestor Manaia who originated from Hawaikī. Manaia himself according to my ancestors descends from Māui-Pae, from Māui-Mua.]

Trevor Moeke  01:39 
Ngātiwai enjoy a special relationship with the moana. And as the impacts of climate change increase, their ocean heritage is more important than ever. 

Hūhana Lyndon  01:50 
Well, we already have the impact right now on the coast in terms of the change, and the way that our moana moves. Modeling shows that within our district, many of our kāinga will see a massive impact in terms of loss of land, loss of whare in our district, because of the rising sea tides. When you think about the lack of infrastructure, that contributes to the climate change crisis that we have now. 

Trevor Moeke  02:22 
As Ngātiwai confront heavy rains during the winter and droughts during the summer, essential infrastructure is urgently needed. Moving their people out of tsunami prone flood zones, along with marae and urupā will be a huge challenge. 

Hūhana Lyndon  02:39 
How do we move or retreat our whanau off the low-lands? Many of us are landless as it is, or we have small parcels of whenua Māori left, because of alienation, because of Crown impacts. Those who are in the low-lands will require support to move back. Who will offer the whenua for their whare to go onto into the future.  

It's also a serious question for Iwi as to how we can support our hapū and our whanau to have these conversations. Remembering if we think about the Native Land Court, the 10-owner act, you know the 10-owner law, the way with which the Crown settled us on small, redundant parcels of land – we're barely existing on that.  

It's really challenging to find a way forward when it's not us determining our current plan. We are responding to Crown and their policies, and yet 'kei a mātou tonu te rangatiratanga'? How do we execute our rangatiratanga and our mana motuhake when we are forced into these current plans, because that's the only thing we can do on our whenua.  

Trevor Moeke  03:57 
Extremely vulnerable to climate change, Ngātiwai want to see more action from local and central government to ensure they are not penalized by their isolation and lack of infrastructure. 

Aperahama Edwards  04:12 
Ko tētahi o ngā mea, hei mahi tēnei wā tonu, ko te āta whiriwhiri, ko te āta whakarite mō te taenga mō ō ēnei hurihanga. [One thing we must do immediately, is to have conversations and prepare for the arrival of these changes.] 

Kāore e kore ka pā iho ka pā iho ēnei taumahatanga ki runga o aua marae, otirā ki aua wāhi tapu, aua wāhi hakahirahira. [It is inevitable these burdens will affect those marae, the secret place, and places of significance.]

Hūhana Lyndon  04:34 
We have poor roading. We have a poor lack of access to services, and in being really isolated when crisis hit, we can only rely on ourselves. 

Aperahama Edwards  04:48 
Kua kite kē mātou i ngā raumati wētahi tāima, hanga totetote ana ngā wai Māori i te whenua, horo ana ngā paringa ki taha o te moana. [We have already experienced summers where the fresh waters have become salty, and the speedy tides of the oceans.]

Hūhana Lyndon  05:08 
When it floods on the coast, a school shuts. Communities are shut down. Slips occur and you are locked down, sometimes for a week. High tide occurs, the road goes. And this is a lived reality, every winter, when the floodwaters and the king tides come, they are nearly at the doorstep of my grandparents home. It can be dire in times. And then we have the drought.  

Horekau nā mātou te hē [we are not to blame for these wrongdoings] – we are not the large polluters. There's a council and a Crown responsibility to support our people, across the board. But in particular in terms of climate impact.  

We are a part of the solution if we're allowed to be at the tēpu and we're resourced to do so. 

Aperahama Edwards  05:56 
He toi tū tonu ai tātou ki runga i ngā pitopito whenua i waihotia mai o tātou tūpuna mātua, me aua hononga ki te whenua, hononga ki te moana, hononga ki te taiao. [We have survived on the lands bequeathed by our ancestors with all those connections to the land, ocean and the environment.]