A journey towards restoring a thriving cultural ecosystem.

In 2018, Environment Canterbury tasked Boffa Miskell with delivering a mātauranga Māori monitoring programme for the Whakaora Te Ahuriri project; the purpose of which was to measure the cultural outcomes of a re-constructed wetland that aimed to improve water quality, mahinga kai and biodiversity values.



Worked with

Morphum Environments

Project date

2018 - ongoing

Phase One of this monitoring programme consisted of eight cultural health assessments being undertaken between March 2018 and May 2021 to monitor change at key project milestones such as when earthworks were completed, when the first aquatic and terrestrial plants were planted or when the wetland was made live.

Our Te Hīhiri team lead engagement with Papatipu Rūnanga and facilitated the mātauranga Māori monitoring programme. With support from terrestrial and freshwater ecologists, a holistic picture of the state of the environment was successfully captured.

At the conclusion of Phase One, the monitoring programme identified several recommendations and lessons for consideration in future restoration efforts at Ahuriri Lagoon and the wider catchment; of particular concern to Papatipu Rūnanga was the need for further survey and control efforts of pest fish species that had entered the lagoon and the implications on the native fish community.

In 2021, Boffa Miskell extended our programme with Environment Canterbury to continue delivering the mātauranga Māori monitoring programme through to June 2024 that will continue to see the restoration of Ahuriri Lagoon assessed and evaluated in relation to cultural values and aspirations. To compliment the mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge) based methods, other environmental monitoring methods were introduced in this second phase including water quality and habitat surveys, macroinvertebrate sampling as well as wetland plant success surveys. The combination of these methods provides for a holistic view of the state of the environment at Ahuriri Lagoon and the on-going restoration of mauri at what was once a significant mahinga kai for Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga.

The Ahuriri Lagoon monitoring project is a part of the wider Whakaora Te Waihora programme and was developed in conjunction with representatives of the six Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga who have a shared interest in Ahuriri Lagoon, the wider Huritini/Halswell River, and Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere catchment.

Our role: Boffa Miskell led the engagement with mana whenua to ensure the cultural values of Ahuriri Lagoon were at the forefront of the wetland design thinking.