Action for Te Taiao

Te Taiao is the natural world that contains and surrounds us — the land, water, climate and living beings. It refers to the interconnection of people and nature. Ko au Te Taiao, ko Te Taiao ko au (I am nature, and nature is me). It’s an eternal relationship of respect, reciprocity and interdependence.

Te Taiao graphic

Food producers all over the world are facing connected challenges:

The health of soil and water, climate change, and changing customer expectations. We can respond to these challenges in a uniquely Aotearoa way by implementing Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles in all efforts to help revitalise Te Taiao – the land, water, climate, and biodiversity that contains and surrounds us all.

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao

WAI Wānaka are one of three organisations who have received funding from Our Land and Water’s National Science Challenge for a place based pilot project to ‘Revitalise Te Taiao’.

The ‘Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao’ pilot aims to acknowledge and uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles of partnership, participation and protection.

Our goal is to forge and strengthen relationships with Tangata Whenua Hapū and Iwi of Kāi Tahu and work collectively with farmers, researchers, growers, industry groups and our community. This will inform future land use and management changes to increase the vitality of Te Taiao.

The project will assist farmers and growers to respond to pressures such as freshwater quality, soil health, pests, climate change and shifting consumer demand through identifying opportunities to farm in alignment with nature.

Two people planting natives to revitalise te Taiao

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao is underpinned by two complementary knowledge-based pou:

Our People, Our Place

Understanding the history of the land from a Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti point of view, to support a fuller understanding of Te Taiao.

Transforming Scapes

Interweaving past, present and future knowledges to expand traditional farm plans beyond tools of regulation and enhance the vitality of Te Taiao.


Knowledge refers to the sum of what is known. This comprises traditional knowledge such as kōrero tuku iho (stories from the past) and mātauranga Māori as well as scientific and local knowledge. It encompasses the multitude of skills and experience available to our community.  
First Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao hui with the WAI team and project leads from Our Land and Water at Criffel Station

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao seeks to answer these four hypotheses:


If Kāi Tahu, local farmers and catchment groups collaborate to share mātauranga Māori, local knowledge, ideas and experiences, then there is opportunity for building mutual understanding of Te Taiao. 


If Te Taiao framing is used, then the weaving of knowledges (mātauranga, local, natural and social sciences) will occur to support fast tracking land use options that revitalise Te Taiao.


If farmers adopt Farm Environment Plans with Te Taiao framing, then the land use options they identify will have a positive impact on the environment and wellbeing.


If Te Taiao framing is a setting for land use options, then land stewards will have a stronger commercial position for the future.

Value chain opportunities for local producers:

This project will enable each participating landowner to develop NZFAP+ level farm planning and create templates for validating environmental progress. Therefore helping landowners not only meet regulations, but also pursue value chain opportunities.
Lake Hāwea aerial

Place Based Pilot

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao pilot activities will be carried out within the Upper Clutha basin. This includes the townships of Wānaka, Makarora, Luggate, Hāwea and Cardrona.
Research and other findings from the pilot will have applications throughout other rohe, catchments and communities.
Aerial image with a map of the Upper Clutha catchment overlayed

Knowledge into Action for Te Taiao is funded by Our Land and Water through AgResearch.