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Dr. Mahina-a-rangi Baker

Te Wānanga o Raukawa

Ātiawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toarangatira

Dr. Mahina-a-rangi Baker was raised in Ōtaki, and comes from a whānau with an intergenerational history of advocating for the relationship of local Māori to their ancestral waters.

She has a PhD in environmental planning, and her research has been focused on the development of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) modelling frameworks to support freshwater decision-making. She is currently a lecturer at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Pūtaiao (Māori science) and Kaitiakitanga.

She is a member of the Kāhui Wai Māori and was actively involved in the reform of the National Policy Statement of Freshwater Management. More recently, she led the technical advice for national Māori organisations on resource management reform.

She is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group: Limits and Targets, advising the Minister on the setting of national environmental limits and targets for the new resource management system.

She runs a Māori environmental consultancy, Te Kōnae, where she works to support various iwi and hapū in their kaitiakitanga work.

She lives in Ōtaki with her partner Ephraim, and two-year old son Te Ikanui.

A journey into the inherited legacies of urban waterways from an indigenous perspective, with Te Mana o te Wai as a guide.

10 Nov | 9am - 10am
Keynote Speaker

‘Te Mana o te Wai’ was elevated as the fundamental concept of New Zealand’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management in 2020. In its strictest sense, it introduces a planning hierarchy which requires that ecosystem health of rivers and streams is prioritised above the health needs of people, such as the provision of drinking water, wastewater treatment and flood protection, which in turn is prioritised above all other consumptive needs.
However, underpinning Te Mana o te Wai, are implementation principles that are albeit not as directive, but just as potent in their ability to transform the management of freshwater. They seek to redress the disconnection of Māori as the indigenous peoples of New Zealand from their ancestral waterways, which has occurred as a result of colonisation. This is driven by an understanding that restoration of water also requires restoration of the role of Māori in water care and management.
For anyone working with water, and in some ways more so with regards to urban waterways and waterways that have a long history of human use, there is a need to understand the cultural and historical legacy that is inherited in this work, if there is a genuine desire to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai.
In this talk I will share my own inherited story in relation to water to attempt to give insight to the types of legacies that are typically sitting with urban waterways in colonial states like New Zealand, but often not anticipated to exist, let alone given the opportunity to be shared. I will discuss the ways in which once understood, these legacies can be addressed through working with indigenous communities, and the framework that Te Mana o te Wai provides to guide central and local governments, communities and private users through that journey.

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