Skip to main content


Water is one of the most important natural resources to Māori, yet there was a time when Māori values were not incorporated into the management of New Zealand’s waterways. Due to water being such an inaugural part of Māori culture, it is imperative to include Māori in all decisions around freshwater.

The Cultural health index was created to promote the participation of iwi in the management of resources especially in streams and rivers. The Cultural health index was developed over a 15-year period between 1996-2006 where it was tested by tangata whenua in streams all throughout New Zealand. This is a tool that monitors the changes of the health and mauri of our water ways by assessing 3 main factors. Site status, mahinga kai status and cultural stream health.

1. Site status identifies whether a site is of significance to tangata whenua, this will be determined when the site is first selected. It will also be determined if tangata whenua will return to these sites in the future.

2. Mahinga Kai: Mahinga kai’s health is examined, both by identifying the mahinga kai on site at present and by comparing species today from the historical species which once were at the same site.

3. Cultural Stream Health: Cultural stream health assesses the health of the stream by looking at 8 indicates of the stream:

  • Water quality
  • Water clarity
  • Flow and habitat variety
  • Catchment land use
  • Riparian vegetation
  • Riverbed condition/sediment
  • Use of riparian margin
  • Channel modification

At eClean we work very hard to include and educate Māori, hence why we use both scientific research and  Matauranga Māori to deliver our technology. At eClean we believe that to regenerate our water quality and mahinga kai we need to work with Māori and understand the significance freshwater have to them.

Our bioreactor can monitor the quality of our waterways while also removing and destroying contaminants which cause rivers and streams to no longer be healthy. A Māori belief is that our water should be fully protected from any contaminants even if it has nontoxic effects on humans, at eClean we hope that one day can meet these requirements for Māori and restore our waterways.

eClean Research Services

Lets Connect and Save Our Waterways