For more than a century the laws, regulations and actions of the Crown have broken the Whanganui River down into parts. The Te Awa Tupua framework seeks to take a catchment-wide approach to ensure that all of the waterways which together join to form the Whanganui River are viewed and managed, not in isolation, but with reference to the whole River as an interconnected ecosystem. Furthermore, to Whanganui Iwi, the Whanganui River is viewed as a living being, Te Awa Tupua; an indivisible whole incorporating its tributaries and all its physical and metaphysical elements from the mountains to the sea. And therefore the health and wellbeing of one element of the River is intrinsically connected to the health and wellbeing of the whole River, its mouri and its mana.
The enduring concept of Te Awa Tupua – the inseparability of the people and River – underpins the desire of Whanganui Iwi to care for, protect, manage and use the Whanganui River through the kawa and tikanga maintained by our tūpuna and their descendants.
Nō te kawa ora a ‘Tupua te Kawa’ hei taura here nā Te Awa Tupua me ōna tāngata ki te kawa nō tawhito rangi.
The natural law and value system of Te Awa Tupua, which binds the people to the River and the River to the people.
In this we understand that Te Awa Tupua is a spiritual and physical entity that supports and sustains both the life and natural resources within the Whanganui River and the health and well-being of the iwi, hapū, and other communities of the River.
Te Awa Tupua is an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea, incorporating the Whanganui River and all of its physical and metaphysical elements.
The iwi and hapū of the Whanganui River have an inalienable connection with, and responsibility to, Te Awa Tupua and its health and well-being.
Te Awa Tupua is a singular entity comprised of many elements and communities, working collaboratively for the common purpose of the health and well-being of Te Awa Tupua.