In response to requests from tribal mahinga kai managers and gatherers over a number of years, Te Ao Tūroa and Strategy and Influence staff are seeking the active involvement of Ngāi Tahu whānui in an exciting new project that aims to develop a Customary Use and Management Framework for native flora and fauna (modelled largely off the existing framework for customary non-commercial fisheries). Ngāi Tahu participants are needed in all aspects of the project including strategic advisers, interviewees and resource managers and mahinga kai gatherers of native flora and fauna who are willing to participant in the field work components of the project.

Te Ao Tūroa and Strategy and Influence will be working in partnership with Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) on this project.

It is envisaged that initially the project will focus on the use and management of native waterfowl, however, it is hoped that eventually the customary use and management framework will encompass all native flora and fauna of interest to Ngāi Tahu whānui. The nature and extent of the framework will be determined by Ngāi Tahu whānui aspirations and legislative or policy changes that recognise and provide for these aspirations.

In terms of strategic advisors, Manaaki Whenua has agreed to fund a fifteen person, Ngāi Tahu Advisory Committee that would meet 2-3 times per year to oversee and guide the entire project and provide advice to researchers involved throughout the many components of the project.

Members of the Ngāi Tahu Advisory Committee should have an expertise and passion for the customary use and management of taonga, whether that expertise is in cultural, legal or ecological elements of the framework. Manaaki Whenua have agreed to 12 regional advisors and three tribal advisors. The 12 regional advisors are to be appointed by ngā rūnanga through the Mahinga Kai Forum for each region – Kaikōura, Mahaanui, Aoraki, Arai te Uru, Murihiku and Te Tai Poutini.

Te Rūnanga may also fund additional experts to support the advisory committee as needed throughout the life of the project. Te Ao Tūroa and Strategy and Influence staff will also attend advisory committee meetings to support the kaupapa.

Please put forward your nominations for the Ngāi Tahu Advisory Committee to Chloe Rapson, Personal Assistant, Te Ao Tūroa, PO Box 13-046 Christchurch. Appointments will be made in the forthcoming round of Mahinga Kai Forum meetings. Those wanting to participate in the other aspects of the project please contact either Nigel Scott or Jason Arnold at the above address.

Te Ao Tūroa and Strategy and Influence staff look forward to discussing this exciting new project with you.