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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Young

Passion and Knowledge- The pillars of RiverCare Te Wai o Pareira's mahi

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Te toto o te tangata, he kai,


Te oranga o te tangata, he whenua, he wai


The blood in one’s veins, is of food,

The health of the people, is of the land, and of water

Te Wai o Pareira is so much more than a muddy tributary flowing through our collective backyards. We need to see beyond what our activity has made the awa today and see what it has been and what is can be.

The genesis of our Rivercare Group was a ‘feeling’ that the awa was sick. Since the group’s inception, we have researched, observed and measured the state of the awa.

Our emotional response has been validated by knowledge. Emotion and knowledge (the heart and the mind) fuel our mahi and our commitment to restoring the mauri of Te Wai o Pareira.


The awa is a living thing; not in an anthropocentric sense but rather as a complex eco-system that is an inherent part of the larger system that sustains life as we know it. The awa figuratively and literally contributes to the forming of our physical and cultural worlds.


This emotional relationship with the awa fuels our mahi. Our felt connection with the awa inspires us to give voice to, and act for the awa. We take this passion with us when we advocate for the awa with the decision makers and the agencies charged with the care of the awa.


This passion is supported and informed with knowledge. We research, using both mātauranga Māori and western science to explore and better understand the awa. We seek to understand and utilise the political framework to generate change

We share what we have learnt with our community, especially our tamariki. They will inherit our legacy. We seek to strengthen their connection with the natural world, with the awa as the touchstone


Passion and knowledge are the essential pillars of our kaupapa. Without the emotional desire to act for the awa, there would have been no deep motivation to act. Passion drives action but without

knowledge it lacks substance. The knowledge gained has informed and given substance to our actions. Knowledge has validated and given credence to our felt concerns

Ko wai au?

Ko wai au

Who am I?

I am water


Written by Chris Ballantyne

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