Kaitiakitanga is fundamental to the relationship between Ngāi Tahu and the environment. It is the intergenerational responsibility and right of tāngata whenua to take care of the environment and resources upon which we depend. The responsibility of kaitiakitanga is twofold: ﬁrst, there is the ultimate aim of protecting mauri; and second, there is the duty to pass the environment to future generations in a state that is as good as, or better than, the current state.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi guarantees tāngata whenua the right to fulﬁll their kaitiaki obligations to protect and care for taonga in the environment, including land, waterways, natural features, wāhi tapu and ﬂora and fauna with tribal areas. However, there are important questions about the ability of current laws and policies to support these kaitiaki relationships to the degree required by the Treaty.
The Mahaanui IMP is a written expression of kaitiakitanga, setting out how to achieve the protection of natural and physical resources according to Ngāi Tahu values, knowledge and practices. As a tāngata whenua planning document with the mandate of six Canterbury Papatipu Rūnanga, the IMP is the basis for working with local authorities and other agencies to achieve sustainable management, mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.