He moemoeā mō Ahuriri: A vision plan and health assessment for the Ahuriri Estuary
The Ahuriri or Napier Estuary is of significant value to both tangata whenua and the Hawke’s Bay community as a whole. Historical and current environmental pressures, together with some questionable management processes over the years, had caused an almost total cultural disconnection between the tangata whenua and the estuary.
The project, led by Dr James Ataria, aimed to assess the situation by identifying the problem, effect and extent of the estuary’s contaminant levels. A key contributor is stormwater run-off into the estuary; essentially water flowing over roads and roofs collecting toxins, which then flows or is discharged, untreated into the estuary.
Low levels of contaminants normally associated with stormwater were measured in the sediment and the edible flesh of cockles and yellowbelly flounders. Samples collected from the Napier Estuary were compared with those of flounder caught in the Pōrangahau Estuary, the largest and least-disturbed estuarine environment on the east coast south of the Bay of Plenty. Jamie says even though he knew the drains into the Napier Estuary were close to factories and industry, he was still surprised at the high levels of contaminants at one site sampled in the estuary.
The team also carried out a literature review of historical and culturally significant events and issues using information from the Waitangi Tribunal WAI 55 Report, the courts and other significant historical records and publications.
The study involved local tangata whenua from the outset. The research team interviewed hapū representatives about their aspirations for the estuary; a senior Māori student from Napier Girls High School was part of the research team; and other school students visited the site. All of the gathered information provided the foundation for the 25-Year Living Document – a collection of tangata whenua and other organisations’ aspirations for the future of Te Whanganui-a-Orotū (the greater area which includes Napier Estuary) written by the team.
NPM’s support for this characterisation study was instrumental in allowing the researchers to successfully secure funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation to carry out further biophysical research in the estuary and to develop an online tool aimed at enabling greater Māori participation in natural resource management via an increased awareness and access to relevant environmental planning documents.
Ataria, J. and Black, M. (2012). The Resource Management Framework. Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga International Indigenous Research Development Conference Proceedings 2012. The University of Auckland.
Ataria, J. and Parata-Takurua, R. (2012). Te Pā o Rākaihautū. Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga International Indigenous Research Development Conference Proceedings 2012. The University of Auckland.
• Ataria, J., Tremblay, C., Tremblay, L., Kaukau, M., Kemp, R., Mauger, J., Black, M. 2008. He Moemoea mō Te Whanganui-a-Orotū: A Vision Plan and Health Assessment for the Napier Estuary. Landcare Research Contract Report (LC0708/061): Prepared for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga. 77 pp.
• Ataria, J, Tremblay, C, Tremblay, L. He Moemoea mo Te Whanganui-a-Orotiu: A Vision Plan and Health Assessment for the Napier Estuary 2007. Landcare Research, PO Box 40, Lincoln 7640,New Zealand
• Black, M., Ataria, J. 2008. Napier Estuary Literature Review. Attachment to Landcare Research Contract report (LC0708/061). Prepared for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga. 41 pp.
• Ataria J, Hack L 2007. Toxicity Assessment of Sediments From Te Whanganui-a-Orotū Using the Copepod Bioassay. Landcare Research Contract Report LC0607/066, prepared for The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. 17 p.
• Ataria J, Black M 2006. Cockles collected from the Pōrangahau Estuary and sent to the Cawthron Institute for analysis of faecal coliforms. A confidential summary of results provided to Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.
Ataria, J., & Black, M. (2012, June). Navigating the legislative and policy landscape: A framework for natural resource management. International Indigenous Development Research Conference 2012. Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Auckland, New Zealand.
Ataria J. (2007). The Napier Estuary: Stormwater Impacts on a Traditional Māori Food Gathering Resource. Canadian Aboriginal Science and Technology Society (CASTS) conference, Calgary, Canada, 3–5 October 2007.
Ataria J. (2007). The Napier Estuary: The Development of a 25-year Living Document as a Tool for Leveraging Māori Engagement into Resource Management and Collaborative Research Opportunities. Canadian Aboriginal Science and Technology Society (CASTS) conference, Calgary, Canada, 3–5 October 2007.
• Lowe C, Ataria J, Tremblay L. (2006). Yellowbelly Flounder (Rhombosolea leporina) as a Bioindicator of the Health of the New Zealand Estuarine Environment. SETAC North America, Montreal, Canada, 5–9 November 2006.
Influences on regional policy development
• The research funded by Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga provided Tangata Whenua with statistical and scientific data to enable them to contribute effectively to the development of emerging regional storm water policy. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, territorial authorities and Māori are currently in the process of drafting new storm water policies, which will eventually be included in the operative Regional Resource Management Plan and the proposed Regional Coastal Environment Plan by way of plan change and variation.
• The suite of Environmental data accumulated by Māori and their research partners from the project identified a number of key issues and, along with the Regional Council’s species and State of the Environment monitoring, will provide a broad picture of the current state of the estuary, and identify the steps necessary to enhance ecological values of the Napier Estuary, and other Estuarine environments region-wide.
• Regional Coastal Environment Plan Hearing, 26 July 2007 (Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier): Parts of the Report were used as evidence to highlight the significance of Te Whanganui-a-Orotū to Tangata Whenua from the historical heritage perspective and to gain recognition of Māori values in the plan.
Presentation, Guest Lecture
• Ataria J 2007. He Moemoea mō Te Whanga: An Example of Collaborative Research with Māori. Guest lecture in May 2007 to Ecology 608 (Methods in Ecology) at Lincoln University,.
• Ataria J, Black M 2006. He Moemoea mō Te Whanga. Presentation to the International Research Advisory Panel for Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, Langham Hotel, Auckland, 9 November 2006.
• Ataria J, Black M, Hiha H, Mauger J, Kemp R 2006. Hui Whakamutunga – Celebrating Success. Final presentation of results of He Moemoea mo Te Whanga to Tangata Whenua and Invited guests. The National Aquarium of New Zealand, Napier, 2 March 2006.
• Ataria J 2006. He Moemoea mō Te Whanga: An Example of Research Addressing Māori Resource Management Issues. Lecture provided to Māori Studies (MAST) 319 (Te Kaitaikitaka Māori Environmental Management) students, Lincoln University, September.
• Ataria J, Black M, Mauger J 2006. Research Overview and Results presentation to senior biology students, Napier Girls High School.
• Ataria J, Black M, Mauger J 2006. Māori Working in Science and Research presentation to Māori students, Napier Girls High School.
• Ataria J 2006. He Moemoea mō Te Whanga. Presentation to the Honourable Steve Maharey (Minister of Education, and Science and Technology), Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga, Auckland University, 31 August 2006.
• Ataria J 2006. Māori Resource Management Research Issues and Experiences. He Moemoea mō Te Whanga. Māori and Indigenous (MAI) Postgraduate Students presentation, Te Whare Whakakōtahi, Lincoln University, August 2006.
• Ataria J 2007. Hui Celebrates New Understanding of Estuary. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Annual Report.
• Ataria J 2007. Hui Whakamutunga. Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Annual Report.
• Ataria J 2006. He Moemoea mo Te Whanganui-a-Orotū: A Vision Plan and Health Assessment for the Ahuriri Estuary – Case Study. In. Supporting and Encouraging Māori and Pasifika into Science and Technology, Health and Engineering: Case studies of programmes. Royal Society of New Zealand Science and Technology Education Committee, p. 27.
• Ataria J 2006. Whanaketanga Māori ki Manaaki Taiao: Te Whanganui-a-Orotū (Māori development and environment: The Napier Estuary as an example). Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) Annual Report, pp. 14–15.
• Ataria J 2006. He Moemoea mo Te Whanga. Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga Annual Report.
• Ataria J, Kaukau M 2006. Tāonga studied. The Big Picture (Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Ratepayers’ Magazine). April, p. 6. • Ataria J 2005. Australasian Ecotoxicology Endpoint Newsletter. April. Volume 11. Issue 3 & August Volume 12. Issue 1.
• Tipene M 2005. Year 13 Māori oral assessment. Simulated a laboratory dissection of flounder linking flounder health to the contamination of the Ahuriri Estuary