We have developed a robust process for engagement, and although this varies between iwi it generally involves an initial email with an information pack, followed by phone calls and where feasible kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face meetings) to build relationships prior to any sampling.
One of our key principles is that we will not sample a lake until we have had appropriate conversations with iwi to ensure that we are not working on any waahi tapu sites, and that culturally significant lakes are sampled where possible with guidance from the local iwi, whānau and hapū. Using research including, Te Kāhui Māngai databases, personal knowledge and Māori advisors, our team respectfully seeks guidance from iwi on the most appropriate lakes to sample.
We have a strong commitment to continue and grow these relationships by sharing our findings from the Lakes380 research.
To further develop these relationships and ensure involvement in the project and a full understanding of the techniques we are applying the team, where possible, holds knowledge sharing events in each rohe prior to sampling. For example, these have been held at lakes Rototai, Vincent, Ōkaro, Ngakeketo, Waiporohita, Wairewa, Mata Kopae and Kohangapiripiri.
These are attended by iwi, Regional Council staff and landowners. Our knowledge sharing days typically involve karakia provided by the local iwi followed by kai, then a demonstration of how the Lakes380 team collects samples, including retrieving a sediment core and splitting this to provide a first insight into environmental change in the lake.
“The project will help Ngāti Kuri become more aware, and better placed to implement the best systems that we can to protect our unique biodiversity, manage our biosecurity and most importantly enhance our own relationship with our natural world and these precious taonga”
Harry BurkhardtChairman, Ngāti Kuri
Whakawhanaungatanga (making connections and relationships) between iwi and the Lakes380 team provide an important platform for integrating mātauranga Māori and has initiated a shared approach to assisting with long-term protection and enhancement of lake health.