Working together for community wellbeing through revitalising the Waikanae Awa

Waikanae Ki Uta Ki Tai is a project about working together to
catalyse community wellbeing centred on revitalising the whole of
the Waikanae Awa.

Our Vision

Our vision is of Waiora; this community working together, under a treaty house partnership, to enhance the lifeforce, vitality and special nature of the whole of the Waikanae Awa.
We see the river as a living whole of which the community is an intertwined part. By protecting and revitalising the river, our community identity, wellbeing and prosperity are also enhanced.

Our Mission

We want to build on all the efforts to protect and restore the river so far.  In the spirit of Treaty partnership, our mission is to create a voice for the whole awa.  We will do this by catalysing more connection, cohesion and capacity for work towards our vision.

Who Are We?

We are a unique local group set up to start the project. We bring  together community members who know the river, Ātiawa ki  Whakarongotai Iwi and Government Agencies (Kapiti Coast District  Council KCDC, Greater Wellington Regional Council, GWRC and  Department of Conservation, DOC). 

Together, we are learning how  to work in partnership under the Treaty of Waitangi, for the benefit  of the river and the community connected to it.

What do we mean by “the Awa”?

The Awa is more than you think.

We share a very wide understanding about what the Waikanae Awa is.

• It is not just now – it is knowledge handed down and history. It is the patterns, rhythms and flows of processes like flooding, erosion, fish migration, and seasons. It is the future, down the generations.

• It is not just the water – it is the landforms, rocks and soils. It is the vegetation cover, the wildlife, and the habitats. It includes all the forms of land use, from those who make a living off the land to those of us who live on the land in our houses.

• It is not just the river and the riverbed – it is the entire catchment above and below; the flows of the water from
the sky, through the earth and in the plants, animals and people that live in it and drink it. It is out to sea. It is the water that flows out of the physical catchment to provide our tap water and comes back in as wastewater.

• It is people – it is the connection with the Awa that we all share, the spiritual values, the place to fish, the place to play, the identity for our district, the knowledge we have about the values and stresses of the Awa. It is this understanding of the Awa that determines the scope of the project.

Ngā mātāpono
Our values

These are the six powerful values that are shared by both the Iwi and the community that honour the river and underpin this work.

Based on these shared values, we propose six priority objectives for the revitalisation of the Waikanae Awa.

Ngā mātātika
Our priority objectives

Objective: Support our shared connection to the Waikanae Awa, making it  central to our Community’s identity and prosperity.


Whakapapa is about lineage, descent and connections. 

For local iwi Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, their intergenerational  relationship to the Waikanae Awa has fundamentally informed  their collective identity. As Mana Whenua they whakapapa to te  Taiao and whakapapa implies their inherited responsibility as  kaitiaki to care for all that is living and existing within their rohe.  The Awa has provided kai, and a place to heal and immerse in  nature. It is important to be aware that some spaces are to be left  alone, to show reverence for certain historical events that have  occurred. 

The community too is intertwined with the Awa, making it central  to their identity and prosperity. The Awa is a living ancestor. 

Together, we can be good ancestors for our mokopuna by caring  for the Awa

Objective: Support innovation in the use of land and water so that the  Awa/Waikanae has room to breathe and flourish.


Mana is about authority, influence and strength. 

Mana is the authority that Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai holds as  mana whenua and the responsibilities that come with it. Their ability to exercise their kaitiakitanga appropriately greatly affects  their mana. 

Mana flows through strong relationships through Te Tiriti between  Iwi and Kawana. 

The community recognises that the Awa has authority. We all need  to prioritise its needs so it can sustain us all. 

The Waikanae Awa has its own integrity and value. The awa has  the power to bring our community together. 

Together we can provide an influential voice for the Awa


Objective: The community’s life has vitality and health because the Waikanae  Awa is clean and vibrant.


Mauri is about the essential quality and vitality of a being or entity. 

In te ao māori, mauri is a systemic quality; when the mauri of our  environment is well, the mauri of all that live in it is well. Mauri  gives rise to the diversity and abundance of life on which our  survival relies. The Waikanae Awa has its own distinct mauri which  we can celebrate, protect and enhance. 

The community recognizes that if the Waikanae Awa is flourishing  and clean then the community can be fully vital and healthy. The  Awa needs room to breathe and be a healthy, diverse and  sustainable ecosystem. 

To sustain and enhance the Mauri of the awa we can take action  such as preventing contamination from entering waterways. This in  turn means we need to consider the way we use water and land 

Together we can ensure the Awa is clean, vital and healthy

Objective: Ensure the values of the Waikanae Awaare understood by all,  celebrated and safeguarded.


Wairua is about the non-physical spirit or soul of a person, place or  thing 

Wairua is about mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual well being gained from interacting with the Awa. 

For Te Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, being kaitiaki is important to their  well-being. Different parts of the Awa are imbued with different  wairua. Some areas are sacred and not to be disturbed.  

The awa and the community spirit are intertwined. Both members  of the Iwi and the community value qualities such as the beauty  and peace of the Awa. Both can relay spiritual, emotional,  psychological and social impacts felt as a result of changes to the  Awa. The work to protect and respect qualities and wāhi tapu  places is in the interests of both Iwi and the community at large. 

Together we can celebrate and safeguard the spiritual/non-physical  values of the river

Objective: Create a shared diverse array of insights about the Waikanae Awa  so these are understood by the whole of our community.


Māramatanga is about insight, understanding, and meaning. 

Iwi see knowledge is a part of the environment itself; it’s a part of  the whole Awa system. The passing on of that knowledge is critical  to the succession of future kaitiakitanga of the Awa. 

The community recognise that there are many ways of knowing,  including that the Awa has its own history and wisdom. 

Both value a diverse array of insights about the Waikanae Awa;  mātauranga, science, practical experience, and more. We need  robust insights in order to take meaningful, long lasting action. 

Together we can create and share new insights.

Objective: Make the Waikanae Awa safe and abundant so natural patterns are  observed and thrive.


Te Ao Tūroa is about the enduring natural order, balance and  pattern that is fundamental to the world we live in. 

For Iwi, this informs the wholistic Māori view of Kaitiaki; that the  health of one component of the environment can’t be understood  in isolation from the whole and that the sustainability of activities  needs to be considered. Returning valued Mahinga Kai species to  abundance, for example, will take an approach which values the  wisdom in the natural order. 

Community value that the Awa endures. They also value balance in  the Awa system and the importance of ensuring that all critical  parts are protected, well-functioning and connected.  

A greater appreciation of the cycles and processes that make up  and sustain the Awa and the human activities that have impacted  on them will help us understand how unique the Waikanae is and  how to better manage our impact on it day to day. For example, to  protect valued species, we need habitat, and habitat, in turn, is  connected to processes such as water flow, sedimentation,  temperature and light. 

Together we can revitalise and sustain the natural habitats and  processes of the Awa

Ngā Hohenga - Ideas for Action

The ultimate aim of the Waikanae Ki Uta Ki Tai project is to create an action plan for the Waikanae Awa. We have proposed 6 Values and 6 Priority Objectives that could underpin that action. This section proposes 6 types of Action that we think the Waikanae Awa most needs.

Six Proposed Types of Action

1. To create connection to the Awa
2. To create insightful information about the Awa
3. To create understanding of our impact on the Awa 4. To create positive behaviour for the Awa
5. To create revitalised habitat for key taonga
6. To create a voice for the Awa

See the long list of action ideas here

Tell us:
What would make a difference for our Awa?