This is the second issue of the Ngā Tautohe a Rangiriri, an occasional newsletter concerning an iwi-led research project called ‘Te Kawa Waiora’. The purpose of this project is to explore the iwi, hapū, whānau and marae contribution to improving the Wairoa River, its tributaries and environs.
Rangiriri is a taniwha in the Wairoa River, and he was one of the original protestors objecting to its deterioration. Hence, we have called this newsletter ‘Ngā Tautohe a Rangiriri’, the protests of Rangiriri. Our research, this newsletter, and the collected voices of the hau kāinga of the Wairoa River continue his fervent protest as we aim to return health and mauri to our river.

“Te Tai Tokerau holds many diverse research opportunities for iwi, hapū and whānau. Our tikanga in the North is unique too, so these workshops support me as an emerging researcher to understand how others are conducting research in the North and contributing to growing our capabilities”

- Nicki Wakefield, Researcher & Facilitator.

Learning the art of research
Just as the river starts as a small stream and flows to the ocean, so our project expands and flows with renewed energy and purpose.

We held two successful research training workshops during March, one at The Orchard, in Whangārei, and the other an online function, at which emerging researcher Nicki Wakefield (quoted above) attended.

Overall, research training helps to build the critical thinking capabilities of iwi, hapū, whānau and marae communities; critical thinking is a key capability for independent (mana motuhake) self-sustaining, self-managing communities.

“These workshops are invaluable for those wanting to understand how to undertake, or to perfect, research,” said Reconnecting Northland’s Connectivity Activator, Celia Witehira. “They attract a wide spectrum of people who all learn a lot from these sessions.”

Research training workshop 26 March 2021
Achieving practical outcomes
In our research plan for this period, we agreed that in year two we would direct the project towards achieving practical outcomes. To this end, we have started discussions regarding the following key factors:

  • Farm Environmental Plans – gaining comprehensive understanding of how they work, what is contained within them and how we might create useful contributions.
  • Communications and Knowledge Sharing – concerning the key overall messages emerging from this project and those that we wish to communicate publicly.

Covid casts shadow over hui wānanga
Unfortunately, Covid-19 took a hand in the first quarter of 2021, with the impact of the Auckland City lockdown (Feb 28 – 6 March) preventing any hui wānanga from taking place during this period.

We had struggled to secure marae venues anyhow, so it was doubly unfortunate that, after confirming a venue for the weekend of March 6-7, we had no choice but to postpone. We are keen to make amends for this as the year unfolds.

“Oral Research is important in collecting and collating our taonga kōrero from our knowledge holders; by capturing these past times, we are fortunate to use the kōrero for future generations to come”

– Hineāmaru Davies-Lyndon, Oral History Researcher.

Strength in depth
The re-engagement of oral history and documentary researchers, Hineāmaru Davies-Lyndon and Robyn Kāmira, to our project was particularly timely, coming so soon after the disruptions caused by Covid-19 during February and March.

Their face-to-face interviews with Kaumātua and other knowledgeable people from the region are the heart and soul of our research project and the story-based kōrero.

Hineāmaru and Robyn’s presence – alongside fellow research team members, Dr Charles Royal and Celia Witehira – not only further deepens the data we have gathered to date but ensures the team remains at full strength while, crucially, maintaining the project’s upward trajectory. The pair are contracted for another three months.

In addition, we also welcome two new members to the Research Committee, who will along with the current members, test our thinking and keep the research flowing in the right direction. They are Dr Brad Coombes and Dr Anne-Marie Jackson, joining our current members, Dr Te Kawehau Hoskins, Taoho Patuawa, Fiona Kemp, and Auriole Ruka.
About Te Kawa Waiora
The principal research objectives are to:

  • Address questions of importance to the iwi, hapū and whānau communities of the rivers as the basis by which their contribution to increasing the health, wellbeing and mauri of the rivers may be achieved.
  • Enable the development of meaningful knowledge derived from mātauranga Māori which can be used to inform farm environment plans of the Wairoa Catchment – these are a critical mechanism by which tangible change in the environment can be achieved.

The project will continue until December 2021. For more information, contact Celia Witehira,

Visit our website | Unsubscribe