Kai Rui

HEALTHY RIVERS, HEALTHY CITY - Resilience of Ōpāwaho

Freshwater, including rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands, is very important to Maori. Water plays an important role in the culture, traditions, and ongoing identity of their people, especially for the custom of Mahinga kai or the customary gathering of food and other resources. "Water is held in the highest esteem because the welfare of the life that it contains determines the welfare of the people reliant on those resources" (Tau, Te Maire, 1990). The river is not only food and physical sustenance but a source of mana and spiritual sustenance. Therefore, the importance of healthy rivers in cities is self-evident. A healthy Ōpāwaho can encourage people to pay more attention to the rivers and it has opportunities for people to interact with the natural freshwater environment.