Setting objectives through whanau engagement and the restoration of mauri

Authored by Caleb Clarke, Richelle Kahui-McConnell and Emily Afoa. Prepared for Water NZ 2014 Stormwater Conference, Christchurch.


Mauri is a concept that permeates Māori thinking; it is the binding force that holds together the physical and spiritual components of a being or thing. The mauri model was created to include Māori perspectives appropriately in evaluation and decision-making. The model incorporates four key factors: mauri of the environment (integrity of the ecosystem), mauri of the hapu (integrity of cultural identity), mauri of the community (integrity of society), and mauri of the whanau (economic integrity).

In order to meet the environmental and social outcomes of the Ōkahu Catchment Ecological Restoration Plan, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei (NWŌ) have engaged the mauri model to ensure the true intention of the hapu is delivered within projects that are aimed to increase the mauri of Ōkahu Bay and its people. NWŌ and Morphum facilitated a hui with hapu representatives and whanau to define objectives and priorities for concept design of a stream daylighting project in Ōkahu Bay. It was important that this phase occurred prior to development of concept designs to ensure all designs encompass the true objectives of NWŌ, not objectives selected arbitrarily by the designer.

The hui identified a number of indicators, as subsets of each mauri, that could be used to measure the success, or otherwise, of each concept design. These indicators also provided the framework for the design process that has produced an innovative and integrated design concept.

The hui also provided weightings, based on pairwise analyses of all four factors, identifying where NWŌ place the highest importance. In the context of the Ōkahu Bay daylighting project, NWŌ placed the highest importance on restoring the mauri of the environment (31%), followed by mauri of the hapu (25%), and mauri of the community and whanau (22% each). The narrow range shows all four factors are of importance to whanau, but that economic considerations will not necessarily be the overriding driver for selection of the final design.

Jennifer Howe

Digital Content Manager