This section addresses issues of particular signiﬁcance in Rakahuri River catchment (Map 9). Originating in the native forested hills of the Puketeraki Range, the hill fed Rakahuri winds through a narrow gorge before braiding across the North Canterbury plains and ﬂowing into an extensive estuarine area.
The Rakahuri estuary is a signiﬁcant feature of the catchment, and is a wāhi taonga for tāngata whenua. The estuary is part of a wider network of coastal wetlands and swamps between the Rakahuri and the Waimakariri rivers that have long been a source of mahinga kai for Ngāi Tahu.
The catchment has strong mahinga kai associations for Ngāi Tahu. The river and its associated tributaries, wetland and lagoons were known as the food basket of Kaiapoi pā. The Rakahuri was one of the three waterways (the others being Waimakariri and Ruataniwha/Cam) that continued to sustain Ngāi Tahu even after the land purchases in Canterbury.
From the late 1800’s the Rakahuri has been managed with an emphasis on ﬂood control and land preservation rather than mauri or mahinga kai. The substantial physical modiﬁcation of the river and its tributaries has had signiﬁcant eﬀects on the relationship of Ngāi Tahu and their culture and traditions with this ancestral river.
Ngā Paetae Objectives
(1) Restoration of the cultural health and mahinga kai values of the Rakahuri to a level and state whereby manawhenua can once again provide manuhiri with local kai that the river is known for.
(2) Water quality and quantity in the Rakahuri and tributaries is such that whānau and the wider community have places they can go to safely swim and ﬁsh.
(3) The coastal/lowland region from the Rakahuri to the Waimakariri is recognised and provided for as a cultural landscape of immense importance, and the cultural and physical connectivity between the Rakahuri, Taranaki stream, Tūtaepatu lagoon, Taerutu lagoon, Kaiapoi pā and the Waimakariri River is restored.
(4) The cultural health of the Taranaki stream is restored as a matter of priority, with a vision to return the waterway to its original shape and swampy character.
(5) Access to and use of customary ﬁshing sites associated with the Rakahuri is restored.
(6) Provision of opportunities to instill traditional values in our young people through involvement in restoration projects and customary mahinga kai practices.