Pātaka kai project

The Kaituna Pātaka Kai Project is a collaboration led by tāngata whenua representatives of Te Maru o Kaituna River Authority. It is a way to preserve and revitalise mātauranga, tikanga and kawa pertaining to freshwater taonga species, in particular tuna, īnanga, kōura, koaro and kākahi.

Te Wai Māori is funding a pilot study to enable hapū and Iwi to co-develop and test a freshwater fisheries monitoring plan. It would be guided by koeke and pūkenga interviews, waiata, hītori (i.e. where kaiawa used to be) and matauranga-based monitoring methodologies (i.e. where kaiawa are now). This would guide habitat restoration planning and establish a framework for future years.

The Kaituna River is a pātaka kai (food basket or pantry). Kai awa (food sourced from the river) is an indicator of the health and well-being of the Kaituna River. In other words, the river is healthy when it is supporting abundant and healthy kai awa.

This project seeks to increase and enhance habitats for kai awa, in particular tuna (eels), inanga (whitebait), kōura (crayfish), kākahi (freshwater mussels) and watercress.

Work will involve:

  • establishment of a Kaiawa Working Group,
  • regular monitoring of kaiawa species,
  • completion of at least five kaiawa habitat restoration projects over the 10 years,
  • prioritisation of kaiawa habitat restoration projects close to marae,
  • scoping the feasibility of small scale tuna farming for marae use,
  • liaison with commercial fishers and MPI regarding existing commercial eeling practices, and
  • liaison with DOC, BOPRC and NIWA with regards to inanga habitat restoration, particularly in drains.

Te Maru o Kaituna will lead this project that contributes to our aim of aim of creating a network of healthy and diverse Kaituna habitats and ecosystems. A broad range of tangata whenua, community groups and other agencies will also be involved.

Planned deliverables include:

  • Kaiawa Working Group established, work programme developed and priority projects identified by 30 June 2022.
  • Completion of at least two habitat restoration projects by 30 June 2025.
  • Completion of at least three habitat restoration projects by 30 June 2028.