The Rakitata Revival Strategy

  • Central South Island
  • 16/06/2022
  • Richie Cosgrove

The Rakitata Revival Strategy


Ko te Whakahaumanu o te Rakitata Awa


Mauri is an essential element of the spiritual relationship of Kāi Tahu with the awa, embodying the physical and spiritual elements that make up the lifeforce of all things. All elements of the natural environment possess a life force, and all forms of life are connected.

All awa carry their own mauri and have their own mana or status.

The Rakitata (Rangitata) River was once an area of incredible abundance, home to unique braided river plants and animals, habitats and ecosystems. Today, the mauri (life force) of the awa has declined due to human activities that have caused losses in water quality and biodiversity. These include changes in land use, taking water for irrigation, pollution, encroaching on the river’s natural channels, and the presence of invasive plants and pest animals.

This project to restore the mauri of the Rakitata River began as a partnership between mana whenua and DOC through their national Ngā Awa river restoration programme. It now includes Te Rūnaka o Arowhenua, Environment Canterbury - Kaunihera Taiao ki Waitaha, Toitū te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, DOC - Te Papa Atawhai, Central South Island Fish & Game and Timaru District Council - Te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Te Tihi Manu and Ashburton District Council.

Each of the partners has a current role in aspects of managing land use, the landscape, water, weed and pest control, and biodiversity and these responsibilities often overlap.

We all respect and value the living status of the awa to which our communities are deeply connected.

By working together to restore and protect the awa we will enhance the health and wellbeing of our community now and for generations to come. 

Vision and mission

Tō tātou tūruapō, our vision
Together we value, protect and restore the mauri of the Rakitata ki uta ki tai (from source to sea). 

Tō tātou kaupapa, our mission
We are restoring healthy braided river ecosystems where native taoka (treasured species) are abundant and healthy, and people and communities can connect and thrive.

For more information see Department of Conservation – Rakitata River Restoration.

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