Tāngata whenua vision for Kāpiti

The tāngata whenua of Kāpiti are – Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and Ngāti Toa Rangatira. The three iwi form the ART confederation. Since 1994, tāngata whenua and the council have worked together in the partnership committee, Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti. Our goal as partners is to harmonise western and Māori worldviews in the management of the district’s resources.

Whatungarongaro te tāngata toitū te whenua
As man disappears from sight, the land remains

This whakatauki (proverb) provides insight into the way tāngata whenua see their role as kaitiaki (guardians).  Within this role, there is an inherent intergenerational obligation which reminds us that our role is to continue to plan for the health and wellbeing of future generations – our whakapapa. Participation is holistic; planning will incorporate cultural, social, economic, environmental, political values and dimensions.

As tāngata whenua, our relationship with the environment spans centuries of observation and experience from which a unique body of knowledge and cultural practice has developed. This experience is valuable, alongside western scientific knowledge and experience, to the development of tools and processes for ensuring that the mauri (life force) of the environment is maintained and improved. Our natural management of the environment is clearly bound through the process of kaitiakitanga meaning guardianship, protection, preservation or sheltering. It is the managing of the environment based on the traditional Māori worldview.

As tāngata whenua we believe:

our cultural practices have a very strong environmental basis and can enhance the management process
we have an obligation as kaitiaki to protect the natural world
spirituality is integral to the connection between Māori culture and tradition and the environment.

Our vision for Kāpiti is based on four principles.

Whakawhanaungatanga/manaakitanga – the marae is our principal home which ties us to our whenua and is the physical embodiment of our ancestors. The wellbeing and health of the iwi and their marae are strongly linked and marae are important sites for the practical expression of kaupapa Māori (Māori philosophy and principles).

Te reo – is the language of the tāngata whenua through which tikanga (custom) is conveyed and kawa (protocol) and wairua (spirit) are expressed. Te reo Māori is an official language of New Zealand and it is fundamental that it is nurtured throughout the community and future generations are encouraged to use it.

Kotahitanga – through unity, tāngata whenua and communities have strength. Working together we can ensure that our district’s heritage, cultural development, health, education and economy flourish.

Tino rangatiratanga – to exercise self-determination and self-governance with regard to all tribal matters and to advance Māori aspirations.