• Active project

He Kāinga Taurikura o Tangitū: Treasured coastal environment

Supporting coastal hapū to express kaitiakitanga by assessing and accessing high-quality ecosystem data.

Project Leader Duration Budget
Kelly May (NIWA), Leigh Tait (NIWA) & Hayley Lawrence (Maungaharuru-Tangitū Charitable Trust) November 2021 – June 2023 $299,770


“Ka tuwhera a Maungaharuru, ka kati a Tangitū. Ka tuwhera a Tangitū, ka kati a Maungaharuru” 

When the season of Maungaharuru (the mountain) opens, the season of Tangitū (the sea) closes. When the season of Tangitū opens, the season of Maungaharuru closes. 

This hapū based project is helping support coastal hapū and our expression of kaitiakitanga by assessing and accessing high-quality ecosystem data produced by technological tools. 

Mātauranga-a-hapū underpins this project, which is situated within the Tangitū rohe moana (northern Hawke’s Bay) and on a kuku (mussels) reef which is under threat due to anthropogenic pressures and the impacts of fragmented management. 

Our project has four key phases: 

  1. Identify attributes, indicators and targets: Wānanga and bring together our mātauranga-a-hapū to describe the state and pressures on the kuku reef. 
  2. Identify new tools and technologies to complement mātauranga-a-hapū: Wānanga to learn about and assess different leading-edge technologies.  This will inform a long-term plan to establish quality ecological information about the kuku reef, ongoing coastal monitoring and process that can weave new data into our cultural assessments. 
  3. Evaluate technology: We will test a technology for its effectiveness and cultural acceptability, eg Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV), environmental DNA (eDNA). 
  4. Develop a Cultural Ecological Assessment Framework and adaptive management: We will develop a framework to monitor the kuku reef and align with our ki uta ki tai freshwater cultural assessments and restoration projects. 

This project will benefit coastal hapū kaitiakitanga alongside an ecosystem-based management approach in a practical and accessible manner. 

Research Team

Kelly May (NIWA)
Leigh Tait (NIWA)
Hayley Lawrence (Maungaharuru-Tangitū Charitable Trust)
Rachel Hale (NIWA)
Ani Kainamu (NIWA)

Co-Development Partners

Tania Hopmans & Lee Grace (Maungaharuru-Tangitū Charitable Trust)
Erica Williams (NIWA)

The researchers and hapū are providing additional in-kind and co-funding to a total value of $50,000.



  • November 2021
    Introductory project brief for Maungahauru-Tangitū whānau
  • June 2022
    Mātauranga ā-hapū wānanga for hapū kaitiaki to inform the Cultural Ecological Assessment Framework (CEAF)
  • October 2022
    Wānanga on hapū kaitiaki assessment of ecological monitoring tools for fieldwork
  • March 2023
    Data analysis, visualisation and provision of seafloor maps
  • April 2023
    Wānanga for hapū kaitiaki to review the CEAF and Implementation Plan
  • May 2023
    Final report on all phases of the project, including the conceptual design for an IPou (Interactive Pou)