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Co-governance: the sharing of governance, which decides long-term strategic directions. 

Co-management: sharing of responsibility for day-to-day operations.

Hapū: Pregnant; section of a large kinship group and the primary political unit in traditional Māori society. A number of related hapū usually shared adjacent territories, forming a looser iwi federation.

Kaitiakitanga: Guardianship, protection or preservation, referring to the obligation on tangata whenua to preserve, restore, enhance, and sustainably use their environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Kaitaiki are guardians, those involved in kaitiakitanga.

Kāwanatanga: The term ‘kāwanatanga’ as used in Te Tiriti is derived from a Māori-language version of the English word ‘governor’. The Waitangi Tribunal has consistently concluded that kāwanatanga, or governorship, was not equivalent to the full power and authority denoted by the term ‘sovereignty'. In contemporary use ‘kāwanatanga’ is sometimes used to refer to the Crown’s governmental power.

Ki Uta ki Tai: Often translated as “from the mountains to the sea”, this term describes hapū and iwi recognition of the interconnectedness of the whole environment, where all parts of (say) a river catchment system have a relationship with each other, and nothing can be separated.

Kōrerō: Talk, dialogue, discussion.


Mahinga kai: An all-inclusive term meaning the ability to access (physically and legally) food resources, the site where gathering occurs, the activity of gathering and using the resource, and the good health of the resource.


Mana: Prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma.


Mana Whakahono o Rohe: A tool designed to assist tangata whenua and local authorities to discuss, agree and record how they will work together under the Resource Management Act in a way best suiting their local circumstances.  It requires any local authority invited by an iwi authority to enter an agreement with that iwi authority.

Mana whenua: Authority over land or territory which hapū have occupied over generations.

Māra kai: food gardens.

Māra rongoā: Medicine gardens.

Maunga: Mountains, peaks.

Nohoanga: Areas adjacent to lakes and rivers that facilitate the gathering of food and other natural resources.

Papakāinga: original home, home base, village, communal Māori land.

Papatipu Rūnanga: Ngāi Tahu have 18 regional Papatipu Rūnanga spread throughout Te Waipounamu.  Each of the 18 Paptipu Rūnanga appoints a tribal member to represent its interests at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the governing council overseeing the tribe’s activities.

Pou Taiao: Environmental planner, manager.

Rohe: region or territory.

Rōpū/roopū: a group of people.

Rūnanga: a tribal council or assembly.

Tangata tiriti:  Literally ‘People of the treaty', Tangata Tiriti usually refers to all non-Māori citizens and residents of Aotearoa New Zealand. NgaPuhi and others descended from those involved in the organising and signing of te Tiriti also call themselves Tangata Tiriti.

Tangata whenua: Local people, hosts, indigenous people; literally, people born of the whenua, i.e. of the placenta and of the land where the people's ancestors have lived and where their placenta are buried. 

Tikanga Māori: Māori beliefs, practices and behaviours that are passed on from generation to generation.

Tino rangatiratanga: self-determination, sovereignty.

Tīpuna/ tūpuna: ancestors.

Wāhi tapu: Places of special spiritual, cultural and historical significance to iwi and hapū.

Whenua: Land, country, territory; placenta.

Terms in te reo Māori are from Te Aka Māori Dictionary.  

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