Pauling, C., Lenihan, T. M., Rupene, M., Tirikatene-Nash, N., Couch, R. (2007, July). State of the Takiwā: Cultural health assessment of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and its catchment. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
Written by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in conjunction with members of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāti Wheke, this 2009 ‘State of the Takiwā’ report is a cultural environmental health assessment of Te Ihutai/the Avon-Heathcote Estuary and its catchment, including the Ōtākaro and Ōpāwaho awa. It was part of a larger research project called ‘Healthy Estuary and Rivers of the City’, led by the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust.
Takiwā is an environmental monitoring system that facilitates Tāngata Whenua to gather, store, analyse, and report on the cultural health, significant sites, natural resources, and environment within their takiwā (tribal areas). For a full cultural health review of the Ihutai catchment, this report collected data at 30 river, estuary, and coastal sites using the Takiwā tool and quantified cultural health scores based on factors such as suitability for harvesting mahinga kai, physical and legal access, site pressures, degree of modification, and presence of valued and pest species .It also used tools including the Cultural Heath Index (CHI), Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit (SHMAK), E.coli testing, and electric fishing.
Overall, the Ihutai catchment received a poor assessment. E. coli and anti-biotic resistance showing widespread contamination from human and agricultural sources were of primary concern, however, the ongoing impacts of drainage, untreated stormwater, native vegetation loss, and water quality decline were also evident. Notably, however, several native vegetation and freshwater spring sites were identified as positive and able to provide ideas for how future management could improve cultural health in the catchment. Protecting, enhancing, and extending such areas was identified as vital in the future management of the catchment, alongside continued monitoring and eliminating contamination sources.