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A Cultural Health Index for streams and waterways: A tool for nationwide use

Publication date:  April 2006
Publication reference number:  ME 710

The Cultural Health Index (CHI) is a tool that Māori can use to assess and manage waterways in their area. The index allows iwi/hapū to assess the cultural and biological health of a stream or catchment of their choosing and then communicate this information to water managers in a way that can be understood and integrated into resource management processes.

A user guide has been prepared that explains the way the Cultural Health Index works, how it can be used, and how tangata whenua may use the information produced.

This technical report describes how the Cultural Health Index works scientifically and how it has been developed through testing on different river types and with different iwi. It discusses how the index is a response to and reflects the values, beliefs and aspirations of Māori. It also outlines how the application of the Cultural Health Index could help resource managers, not only to fulfil their obligations stemming from resource management laws, but to enhance current resource management practice.