The Marine Cultural Health Programme - Tangaroa Tohu Mana, Tangaroa Tohu Mauri - is a kaupapa (initiative) developed to monitor and protect the health of the marine environment, in partnership between participating marae and hāpu of Ahuriri (Napier) and Napier Port (Te Herenga Waka o Ahuriri).
An Aotearoa / New Zealand first, the programme provides a real-time state of health and aims to help to lay the foundation for the future restoration and enhancement of this environment.
The origins of the programme began in 2016 when Napier Port approached Iwi to discuss plans for the build of a new wharf, due to open later in 2022.
A Cultural Impact Assessment prepared in collaboration with Stantec NZ, who provided planning support, offered insight into the area’s cultural significance, which in turn became integral to the project development.
At the heart of the Marine Cultural Health Programme is the Cultural Monitoring Framework – an innovative monitoring framework that balances Western science and a Māori worldview in order to deliver mutually beneficial ecological health and cultural, or whānau wellbeing, health outcomes. The framework embodies Kaitiakitanga or guardianship, an obligation to care for the environment and maintain it for future generations. It recognises that the spiritual (Kete Te Ao Tua Ātea), sensible (Kete Te Aronui) and energy (Kete Tua-uri) worlds are connected. Secondly, Māori share common ancestry (whakapapa) with the environment and all living things.
The Cultural Monitoring Framework is consistent with previous studies developed for Cultural Health Index programmes. In addition, the Cultural Monitoring Framework includes indicators that provide an insight into what the Resource Management Act 1991 refers to as the ‘life-supporting capacity’ of ecosystems, that is, the visible expression of mauri.