What is Te Mana o te Wai?
Te Mana o te Wai refers to the fundamental importance of water and recognises that protecting the health of freshwater protects the health and wellbeing of the wider environment. Te Mana o te Wai is about putting the water first and thinking about it in a holistic way.
Putting the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems first is facilitated through the hierarchy of obligations contained in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. This hierarchy prioritises:
- the health and wellbeing of water bodies and freshwater ecosystems
- the health needs of people (such as drinking water)
- the ability of people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural well-being, now and in the future.
The Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries have prepared a factsheet on Te Mana o te Wai. The Regional Council is required to work with our communities and tangata whenua to understand how Te Mana o te Wai applies locally to water bodies and freshwater ecosystems in the region. Working in partnership with tangata whenua, this local understanding is being developed. There will be local variations and nuances across catchments.
The 5 Rs
Te Mana o te Wai varies from previous freshwater regimes in that it emphasises a different set of interlinked principles. For our local application of Te Mana o te Wai, these principles include what we refer to as 'The 5 Rs’: relationships, reciprocity, respect, responsibility, and restoration. We all need and interact with water, water is life, so these concepts are applicable to everyone.
If you have any thoughts or questions about Te Mana o te Wai, fill in our quick feedback form to let us know.