In November, over 240 kaitiaki wai māori gathered in Wakatū for the Māori Freshwater Fisheries Conference. Our kaikōrero spoke about some of the incredible mahi that whānau, hapū, iwi, researchers, and ecologists are undertaking across Aotearoa.  

The challenges are many: barriers to migration, extreme weather events, pressures from land-based activities, declining water quality and habitat loss. But the solutions are also many: utilising mātauranga Māori in our approach to working with indigenous fisheries, engaging whānau and hapū in restoration work.  

We heard from Te Ao o Te Rangi Apaapa (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Maria Te Aukaha (Waikato Maniapoto, Ngāti Kahungunu) about their call to arms, Te Karanga a te Pūtangi, to stop quarrying on Te Weraiti to restore the mana and wellbeing of the whenua, wai and uri of Tangata marae from leading ecologists like Dr Ian Kusabs (Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maru) about how a traditional Māori method of harvest of freshwater kōura can be used for monitoring kōura populations. We also heard from PhD students, Siobhan Nuri (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Tarāwhai, Tūhourangi) and Indi Novak (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) about their respective rangahau into the poorly understood early life histories of longfin and shortfin tuna in Aotearoa and the use of high-rate filamentous macroalgae ponds to treat nutrients, human pathogens, and emerging contaminants in primary wastewater.  

Check out the highlight video and photos on our conference website. We recorded and will be releasing videos of the presentations in the new year.  

Hearing these skilled, passionate kaikōrero is an important reminder that we can make a difference, for our taiao, our whānau, our freshwater taonga and our mokopuna. 

The Trust would like to mihi to Fish Futures for supporting whānau to attend the conference, Moana for sponsoring the oyster bar and Naturally Nelson and Sealord for providing product for the attendee bags.