Tangaroa Ararau – Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Tikanga Māori and the marine environment

This project is exploring the fundamental idea of what an oceans-centric governance model could look like, unburdened by existing approaches and constraints as well as recognising and providing for the intent guaranteed to Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Project Leader Duration Budget
Beth Tupara-Katene (Awatea Consulting) November 2021 – June 2023 $574,000


In Aotearoa, our history as navigators, voyagers, explorers and mariners dates back more than a thousand years, to the times of Kupe, Kuramarotini, Huiterangiora, and the Great Captains of the migration waka.

Over generations, keystone concepts emerged to continuously reinforce a synergistic relationship with Tangaroa and everything that influences the wider marine ecosystems. Complex ocean economies developed in step with ecosystem health indicators. This body of knowledge informed traditional management systems that put Tangaroa, the embodiment of the ocean’s health and vitality, at the heart of decision making.

Tangaroa Ararau is exploring the myriad relationships within Aotearoa New Zealand’s Oceans, to reimagine a governance system that places Tangaroa at its heart. Built upon a foundation of tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, it aims to reshape our approach to the oceans, in a uniquely Aotearoa approach.

This potential system will be aspirational and far reaching in its design. And whilst fundamental features of the proposed governance model include Tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti, this potential system will be unique to, and born of, Aotearoa to reflect and connect to all its citizens.

Tangaroa Ararau, or Tangaroa of the many paths, acknowledges these many braided threads, views and journeys that have led to this moment in time.

Research Team

Beth Tupara-Katene (Awatea Consulting)
Horiana Irwin-Easthope (Whaia Legal)
Toni Love (Whaia Legal)
Nicki Douglas (Independent)
Te Puoho Katene (Awatea Consulting)
Josie Te Rata (Whaia Legal)
Moana Kennedy (Independent)

Co-Development Partners

Te Ohu Kaimoana


This is a national project.