Independent panel and Pou Taiao reached its decisions

The independent panel assessing Te Mātāpuna o te Wai applications and Pou Taiao has reached its decisions and we’re thrilled to announce that we have 41 successful applicants.

As we reach the end of March 2024, we’re focused on diligently coordinating contractual agreements in accordance with MFE guidelines. We look forward to sharing more details shortly.

This newly established grant has a pool of $12.8 million to develop the capability and capacity of hapū and iwi in their aspirations for their freshwater taiao.

Te Mātāpuna o te Wai offers a three-year investment through planning support for Te Mana o te Wai/Taiao System approaches and supporting the capacity of hapū and iwi by resourcing kaimahi (full time employees).

Te Mātāpuna o Te Wai Grant is presented by Te Pou Taiao. The Grant was provided to Te Pou Taiao – the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group from The Ministry for the Environment as part of the Essential Freshwater Fund.

The Grant will be delivered with support from Te Wai Māori Trust and Poipoia Ltd, who are responsible for administering, managing and distributing funds.

Applications for this fund closed in January 2024.

For any pātai about the grant, please contact

Te Mātāpuna o te Wai seeks to support an initial investment in hapū and iwi to participate in Te Mana o te Wai and build their taiao system, helping them fulfil their role as kaitiaki of te taiao.

The purpose of Te Mātāpuna o te Wai is to:

  • Create confidence within whānau, hapū and iwi to articulate how their own taiao and freshwater issues can be addressed, and aspirations realised.
  • Assist hapū and iwi to participate in and respond to essential freshwater, resource management and local government reforms.
  • Enable hapū and iwi to exercise rangatiratanga over their freshwater needs; develop and implement tribal aspirations and mātauranga māori to their system.

Funding priorities:

Priority will be given to:

  • Pre-settlement hapū or iwi with low Taiao capacity (0-2 staff).
  • Iwi/hapū with identified gaps in capacity and capability areas.
  • Iwi/hapū that identify the importance and use of mātauranga Māori in the development of their Taiao system.
  • Iwi/hapū that face significant freshwater issues and lack the resources and expertise to proactively plan for and influence local government processes.

Te Mana o te Wai/Taiao System Programme

Te Pou Taiao – Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group has developed a Te Mana o te Wai/Taiao System Programme for tangata whenua capability and capacity building.

Te Mana o te Wai is a concept that has principles and follows a hierarchy of priorities that reflects the mauri, the health, and the well-being of wai.

With the use of this grant, we want to help hapū/iwi/tangata whenua to be able to define, implement and develop a Te Mana o te Wai/Taiao system of their own that will lead to enabling participation and decision making in the freshwater system.

About Te Pou Taiao

The Pou Taiao and the Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group was formed in 2007 to advance the interests of all Iwi in the relation to freshwater, matters related to biodiversity, biosecurity, Oceans and Climate through direct engagement with the Crown.

 The Pou Taiao and Freshwater Iwi Leaders Group and their technicians (FIAG), advocate for the sustainable management of water and other taonga and ensure that Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations are met and upheld. Their role is instrumental in shaping a more inclusive and equitable approach to Aotearoa Taiao legislation, particularly through the development of Te Mana o te Wai which was formally embedded into the Resource Management system in 2011.

Working together Pou Taiao, FILG and Te Wai Māori Trust seek to secure the health and wellbeing of freshwater and our wider environment as it is essential for the continued health and wellbeing of freshwater fisheries. Healthy freshwater fisheries require a healthy relationship between people, freshwater, habitat, and the wider environment.