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Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee encounters both worlds

Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee encounters both worlds


Water quality, the species habitat it provides and the cultural values associated with water provoked a lively discussion at the Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee’s recent meeting at Papawai Marae at Greytown.

The Committee’s role is to create a unique vision for water resources in the Ruamähanga Whaitua (catchment) and prioritise objectives for the whaitua’s land and water management.

The focus of the public meeting was to update the Committee not only on the latest science on the quality of river water, ground water and lake water in the whaitua but also to present the underlying cultural perspective on water through a Mäori lens.

“A variety of perspectives is essential to creating an understanding of the role and importance of water,” says Committee Deputy Chair Esther Dykstra. “It’s clear that we have to build our knowledge to develop a collaborative approach to freshwater management that benefits both from matauranga Mäori and science-focussed knowledge.

“Holding our meeting at Papawai Marae reinforced to us that we are on both a cultural and scientific journey of discovery, and that their integration will lead to a more powerful and inclusive approach to freshwater management.”

All papers presented to the Ruamāhanga Whaitua Committee at its meeting are available at

You can also read more about the work of the Committee.