Analysing and assessing the state of the environment using mātauranga Māori.

In conjunction with Ngāti Waewae and the Mawhera Incorporation, Boffa Miskell prepared a baseline report of the Arahura River catchment for Te Papa Atawhai/Department of Conservation to support the national Ngā Awa River Restoration Programme.

The information captured in this report is a combination of western science and mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge). The revival, use, and retention of mātauranga māori is key to improving outcomes for local mana whenua, Ngāti Waewae, who hold territorial rights and ownership of the Arahura River.


West Coast

Worked with

Mawhera Incorporation
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae

Project date

2020 - 2021

Boffa Miskell’s Te Hīhiri cultural experts led engagement with mana whenua and worked closely with our terrestrial and freshwater ecologists to bring together contemporary and traditional knowledge.

This report identified cultural and ecological values of the Arahura River and significant threats to and opportunities for restoration of these values. Hui were held at Arahura Marae with DOC, local government and key mana whenua representatives including rangatahi (youth).

Recommendations within the baseline report prioritised the development and implementation of a baseline cultural health assessment of the Arahura River. The cultural health assessment builds on the objective to achieve the values and aspirations of mana whenua.

In March 2021, Boffa Miskell facilitated the completion of the baseline assessment that was undertaken at sites along the Arahura River that represented a ‘ki uta ki tai’ or ‘source to sea’ philosophy. The State of the Takiwā and Cultural Health Index tools were used to capture cultural information and values of the sites from the river’s source at Whakarewa/Lake Browning, to the sea at Te Tai Poutini/the West Coast. Findings of this cultural health assessment informed other monitoring and restoration projects for DOC to focus on in the future.