Mātauranga Kura Taiao

Mātauranga – Mātau = Fishhook. Ranga = Fishing ground.

To catch. To hold. To consume. To exercise. To practise.

“He Aha Te Kai A Te Rangatira? Ko Te Korero Te Kai O Te Rangatira”

Mātauranga Kura Taiao (MKT) is a project brought to you by Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust and Nga Whenua Rahui.

Through this project we look back, to our tipuna for guidance to bring mātauranga and taiao together from past to future. Our focus is Wai (water), there is so much happening in our waterways, rivers and along our coastal area. We as iwi, hapu and whānau need to have a clear position and say on decisions that affect us especially major changes to the national water policies that are happening now. This project will consist of oral history, wānanga, surveys and video throwbacks so you can have your say.

Matauranga Kura Taiao is made of three team leaders, Samuel Lewis, Soraya Pohatu and Murray Palmer.

Samuel Lewis is leading Mātauranga, with the focus on capturing kōrero relating to taiao and wai. This is an important part of who we are and how we pass on and continue to practice our values and tikanga.

Soraya Pohatu is leading our Biodiversity mahi for Rongowhakaata. Through MKT we want more whānau learning about our taonga and reconnecting to te taiao.

Murray Palmer is leading our mahi on Environment and Natural Resources. Murray articulates Rongowhakaata’s position on te taiao to influence local and national government policy and decision-making. Through MKT you can participate in this process by learning about traditional values and practice relating to wai and having a say about current issues.


  1. There are national water reforms occurring within Aotearoa now concerning 3 types of water, fresh water, storm water, and wastewater.
  2. The National Policy Statement for Freshwater 2020 (NPSF) provides for Tangata Whenua rights, roles and responsibilities including Mahinga Kai.
  3. As Tangata Whenua, Rongowhakaata needs to have a say about these water reforms.
  4. The Makauri Aquifer is the largest source of underground water in Tūranga. Due to excessive water takes the aquifer has been in continual decline since the early 1980’s.
  5. Most of Gisborne city’s water comes from the Mangapoike dams and flows from the headwaters of Te Arai River. At times this is supplemented from water from the Waipaoa River.
  6. Some of Gisborne city’s urban streams (especially the Kopuawhakapata and Waikanae streams) are among the most polluted in the country, including large cities like Auckland and Wellington.
  7. The Waipaoa River is one of the two most sedimented/mud carrying rivers in the world alongside China’s Yellow River.

To learn more about the NPSF click on this link http://Three Waters Reform Programme – dia.govt.nz

This information has been provided by our MKT Team leaders.


If you’re Rongowhakaata uri, we want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts on this kaupapa.

Complete this survey by 30th of June and go in the draw to win $100 voucher.