This section addresses issues of particular signiﬁcance in the catchment of Te Waihora (Map 23).
Te Waihora is a tribal taonga representing a major mahinga kai and an important source of mana. For the last 160 years, management of the lake and its catchment has reﬂected farming and settlement values, at the expense of Ngāi Tahu values. In its ﬁndings on Te Kerēme (the Ngāi Tahu Claim) the Waitangi Tribunal (1991) found that:
The eﬀect of intensive land use on the lake, waterways and groundwater in the catchment is a key kaupapa in this section. A focus on Te Waihora is the means to ‘drive change from the bottom up’. Resolving the issues required to restore the cultural health of Te Waihora will ultimately restore the cultural health of the wider catchment.
Today the restoration and rejuvenation of the mauri and ecosystem health of Te Waihora is a reality. Ngāi Tahu and Environment Canterbury are implementing a co-governance agreement for the active management of Te Waihora and its catchment, and Whakaora Te Waihora, a long-term relationship agreement and shared commitment between the two parties for the ecological and cultural restoration of the lake, bringing together the tikanga responsibilities of Ngāi Tahu and the statutory responsibilities of the regional council.