Tauhara North No.2 Trust: Maui.Tech case study

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

Tauhara North No.2: Whenua Ūkaipō

In this video case study, representatives of Tauhara North No. 2 discuss their commitment to addressing climate change, preserving their ancestral lands, and utilising geothermal resources sustainably while emphasising the importance of collaboration between iwi/Māori and the government to find innovative solutions to environmental challenges. It encourages a return to Māori cultural values, connecting with the whenua and wai as taonga, and utilising them sustainably for current and future generations.

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


  • Ngahihi Bidois (Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) – Chair of Tauhara North No. 2 Trust at time of filming (2022)
  • Mana Newton (Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa) – CEO, Tauhara North No. 2 Trust

Click to read transcript

Ngahihi Bidois  00:18 
Climate change is not just about water. Climate change is about the whenua. Climate change is about our air and oxygen. Climate change is about our business practices, our farming practices. And for us, we are always looking for ways to improve in those areas. 

Trevor Moeke [Narrator] 00:3 
Mai ki Te Waiheke o Huka, whakarāwhiti ake ki te manea o Kāinga Roa.  Heke mai nei ki te tihi maunga te Maunga Kakaramea,  puta atu ki te Pae Maunga o Paeroa. [From here to Waihuka, eastward to Kāinga Roa, over to the peak of Kakaramea, across to the Paeroa Ranges.]

Welcome to the rohe of Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa and their Ūkaipō [home] – Orakei Korako. 

Mana Newton  00:56 
Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa recognises two of our ancestors, one being Tahu Matua, who is our first ancestor who came from Hawaiki and he came across on a waka called Manu-nui-a-Rangi with his wife Weka Nui. When he landed in Aotearoa, he was looking for warm areas, and he found geothermal. And geothermal areas reminded him of Hawaiki. And our region of Repora, our rohe, is surrounded with geothermal areas.  

There's at least six known geothermal areas within the region. And so that became his exploratory land, his playground and his backyard where he provided kai, warmth and protected his whanau within the geothermal region. 
Trevor Moeke  01:47 
A highly active geothermal area, Orakei Korako is the ground of Ngāti Tahu and Ngāti Whaoa's geothermal interests. It's an area of famed for its jade green emerald terraces. 

Ngahihi Bidois  02:05 
Tauhara North No. 2 Trust is an ahuwhenua Trust has a lot of geothermal interest as well, which is in the Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa district has geothermal under the ground. And along with our partners Mighty River Power, who are now Mercury, we harness that energy from Papatūānuku. And we have geothermal power stations. And those geothermal power stations are built in a way that is sustainable, and looks after Papatūānuku. 

Mana Newton  02:38 
Some of the things that we've been exploring, and things that are happening in our area, are things such as focusing on removing silica, and doing mineral type extraction from geothermal. A lot of mineral extraction such as silica, lithium is quite intrusive on our environment. But you're already taking that geothermal fluid from the bottom of the reservoir. While it's up here, it's about maximizing the capability of the reservoir and the fluids that it has, so that we can utilize the carbon that we are having a footprint on for better use.  

Today, we own less than 3% of that whenua. There's a natural opportunity, where if we partner with the government, and we looked at carbon farming, we can have a model where we underwrite the returns and the land use change into a government contract. And we hedge that out 30 years. And then that can be taken to the market where we use utilize a bond and the back end. We raise funding through a bond. Because what that will allow us to do is we wouldn't have access to that whenua for 30 years, it'd be tied up into a bond model. But after that 30 year capability, then we would own the whenua outright. We'd have no bond debt sitting on it, and we'd have a future of opportunity for our whenua. 

For us as Māori, especially in rohe like ourselves that have just lost so much land, our goal is ‘kia mau ki te whenua’, hold on to the lands. We can't kia mau ki te whenua unless we actually own the whenua, both in title and in Mauri.  

So for us, we think that there's a really good model here, where we could get some forward contracts from the government to hedge carbon pricing. We could look at realistic lands that should be converted over to carbon sinks. And then we could use that forward contract to go to the financial markets and create financial instruments that are backed by bonds, that are backed by government for contract hedges. 

Trevor Moeke  04:39 
The people of this whenua consider themselves kaitiaki of this sacred site, and others situated along the banks of the mighty Waikato River. 

Ngahihi Bidois  04:53 
Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa has more land on the banks of the Waikato River than any other Iwi in New Zealand. Climate change will affect the Waikato River. Our responsibility to that awa, to the Waikato awa, has been their mai rānō. For us, it's about watching the river, we've seen changes in the river, everyone has.

Mana Newton  05:17 
We're all part of the problem. And we're all got to be part of the solution. And I think this is where Māori and the government could come together. Because if we just focus on the compliance side, and we miss out on the innovative, sort of strategic, visionary way that we could all change, then it's going to be a lot of hitting with a stick, instead of recommending or supporting with a carrot opportunity. And I think that's where we got to place it together. With Māori, and the government together. 

Mana Newton  05:54 
If you asked yourself today – are Māori the most innovative group of people utilizing geothermal, you would say no. So how did we lose that in the space of 150 years. It's because we're not connected with it. If we connect back to our reservoirs, if we connect back to our awa and we look at them as the tuakana, or the taonga that they are, then we will treat them in the right way, and we'll understand their mātauranga. And when you live on it, and amongst it, you want to make sure that that place is your home, not only for your generation, but mai rānō. We want to make sure that we can sustain it. Let's utilize the reservoir, but let's utilize it with some mātauranga Māori aspects around it, so that we're utilizing them in a way that's sustainable for future generations as well.