Ōkahu Bay lies adjacent to Te Whenua Rangatira, occupying a dominant headland near the mouth of the Waitemata Harbour, collectively the ancestral home of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. The spiritual significance of the land was recognised by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei ancestors who sought to safeguard Te Whenua Rangatira as a place which links water, land, forest and sky (Tangaroa, Papatūānuku, Tānemahuta and Ranginui) maintaining a strong link with surrounding cultural landmarks within the isthmus and beyond. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei consulted widely amongst their people and asked them to describe how they would know when their relationship with Ōkahu Bay had been restored. This resulted in the following vision: Waters fit to swim in at all times, with thriving marine eco-systems that provide sustainable kaimoana resources to a Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei community who have strong daily presence in and on the bay as users and kaitiaki To realise that vision Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei developed and have implemented the Ōkahu Catchment Ecological Restoration Plan. This project aligns with Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei’s vision statement to restore the mauri to Ōkahu Bay’s. A specific component of that vision is to restore water quality to that where the waters are safe to swim in and kaimoana can be safely gathered and eaten. Currently, Ōkahu Bay is suffering from an excess of nutrient, storm water pollution and sediment inputs which restrict what activities can be safely undertaken and negatively impact the mauri. Thus, efforts are being made to restore Ōkahu Bay to its former pristine condition. The efficacy of such restoration efforts can be assessed using the Mauri Model, a decision making tool that incorporates social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing into sustainability assessments using indicators identified in the iwi vision statement and measured by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei tangata. The mātauranga of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will be complemented by science and cutting-edge technologies. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are deeply committed to realising the dreams and aspirations of their people to enhance Te Whenua Rangatira, including Ōkahu Bay and its surrounding catchment. This project contributes to the wider goal of improving overall outcomes for their people by strengthening links to their natural and cultural heritage, will be part of a suite of projects underway this summer (2 Masters projects, 2 summer interns), and builds on former NPM internship projects. The programme of work to be carried out by the intern includes: - Korero with kaumatua and translation of purakau and korero - An intertidal and subtidal benthic survey of Ōkahu Bay - 3-D hydrodynamic modelling of kūtai larval dispersal within the Waitemata Harbour Read internship report below

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