Te Mana o te Wai,
Restoring and preserving the balance between water, the environment and people

Te Mana o te Wai is a fundamental concept focused on restoring and preserving the balance between water (wai), the wider environment (taiao), and people (tāngata), now and in the future.

Te Mana o te Wai

Ko te kaupapa o Te Mana o te Wai, he tiaki i te anamata o ā tātau tamariki, mokopuna

Te Mana o te Wai is about looking after the future of our tamariki and mokopuna

Te Mana o te Wai draws on a te ao Māori perspective to recognise the whole-of-system approach to wai, from maunga to moana, or ki uta ki tai. This all of system approach consists of the fundamentals of tīkanga, mātauranga and kaitiakitanga Māori,  which is a unique approach for Aotearoa and all New Zealanders.

Te Mana o te Wai as defined in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management

A key objective and a requirement of the Water Services Act 2021 is for Taumata Arowai to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai, to the extent it applies to our functions and duties. This obligation also applies to all drinking water suppliers who operate under the Act.

As a drinking water supplier, you can embed Te Mana o te Wai into your ways of working through your drinking water safety plans and source water risk management plans, and in policies, processes and procedures. A key thing you can do is  engaging and working with whānau, hapū and iwi Māori in your rohe early and meaningfully when developing your plans. By doing this you can learn and see good examples of how whānau, hapū and iwi Māori  implement and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai within their rohe and takiwā, which could help to inform how you develop your plans. 

Te Mana o te Wai connects different regulatory regimes through a common vision and set of principles. Its application will vary from place to place and community to community, in accordance with local responses to the principles it embodies. 

The Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Group will provide support and guidance to Taumata Arowai, our Board, Chief Executive and organisation on Māori interests and knowledge as they relate to Taumata Arowai objectives, functions and operating principles. An important part of this will be to engage and work meaningfully with whānau, hapū and iwi.

Embedding Te Mana o te Wai will require a close relationship between Taumata Arowai, mana whenua and kaitiaki who are best placed to advise on the tikanga and mātauranga which underpin Te Mana o te Wai and Te Tiriti o Waitangi interests.