Toi tu te marae o Tane-Mahuta, toi tu te marae o Tangaroa, toi tu te tangata
When the land and sea are looked after, the people will prosper
Coastal Marlborough holds great spiritual and practical significance to the eight tangata whenua iwi of Te Tau Ihu – the top of the South. It is where the first Maori landed 800 years ago at Te Pokohiwi, the Boulder Bank at the Wairau Lagoon.
Te Tau Ihu iwi are Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa Rangitira, Ngāti Tama, Rangitāne and Te Ātiawa, while Ngai Tahu is tangata whenua iwi for east coastal Marlborough.
Iwi have a strong sense of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) in the management of the coast and protecting the mauri (life source) of the environment for future generations. This responsibility includes the coastal waters, foreshore, estuaries and river mouths and all the species that live within these ecosystems.
Treaty of Waitangi settlements between Te Tau Ihu iwi and the Crown became law in August 2014. These include statutory acknowledgements of the cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional associations of each iwi to Marlborough’s coastal areas.
Under the RMA, the Council’s Regional Policy Statement recognises and provides for the spiritual and cultural values of tangata whenua iwi in managing the coastal environment. This includes protecting the health of kai moana such as shellfish.
One of the objectives of the coastal monitoring strategy is to explore opportunities to involve iwi. Council is planning to work with iwi to develop cultural indicators such as changes in estuaries and shellfish for mahinga kai (food gathering) as signals to be considered when studying the health of the coastal environment.