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The Team

A field team will be needed to apply the CHI to your chosen stream. A team of five or six members is recommended.

Choosing the team

It is for tangata whenua to appoint the team and support them as they do the work required to monitor the health of the waterway. The chosen coordinator will have a key role in helping bring the team together.

Here are some points to consider when building a field team:

  • Team members should have a strong connection with the area being assessed, especially an appreciation of rivers and streams within the rohe, including the kind of changes that have taken place over time.
  • An understanding of cultural uses, in particular knowledge about mahinga kai (plants, birds and fish) associated with streams will be very important. This knowledge needs to be available to the team but may only be held by one or two of the team members.
  • It is important that there is consistent involvement throughout the study. Team members need to be able to commit themselves and their time and energy for the duration of the study. Each site takes approximately one hour to view and up to five sites can be visited each day depending on travel between sites. If, for instance, a whole catchment is being assessed it could take up to seven days to complete. These days are likely to be spread over a number of weeks depending on weather conditions and other commitments team members may have.
  • The inclusion and involvement of kaumātua will ensure that different life experiences and perspectives are represented and incorporated.
  • A CHI study is a learning experience and provides a learning environment. It may be appropriate to take rangatahi into the field as part of the assessment team.

Training the team

A training programme will result in the tangata whenua field team having a clear understanding of the purpose of the study and an appreciation of how their work will benefit their people. During training, team members will become familiar with the range of cultural stream health conditions they will encounter. This is achieved by having the team assess three sites (one healthy, one unhealthy and one in average condition). From this exercise team members will also gain experience in collecting data. They will be become comfortable and confident in what is expected of them and in their use of equipment and their ability to accurately record what they observe. During training the team will benefit from the involvement of someone skilled and experienced in applying the CHI and its rating system to different waterways. Quality training underpins a successful team.

A training programme could usefully include the following components:

  1. Introduction of the CHI: facilitated by someone experienced with using the CHI.
  2. The 1–5 scoring framework: in visiting three sites team members will experience and become familiar with stream or river stretches in various states of health, ranging across the five ratings or grades, from healthy stream (5 rating) to seriously degraded stream (1 rating).
  3. Familiarity with the recording form: team members will become familiar with the recording form, including the indicators that will be assessed.

Equipping the team

The team will need access to the following equipment when carrying out the fieldwork.

  • Assessment forms [A field assessment form for data collected in the field is included in Appendix 4.]
  • Clipboards
  • Pens
  • Camera
  • Maps and aerial photos of the area
  • GPS
  • First aid kit.

Note: Knowledge of local mahinga kai species (plants, birds and fish) needs to be available within the team.