The CHI was designed for the assessment of stream health by tangata whenua who wish to exercise kaitiakitanga over their rivers and streams and work with resource managers to achieve an improvement in the health of the resource. The objective was to provide a relatively straight–forward yet reliable measurement that can be repeated at regular intervals.
Continued data gathering – ongoing monitoring
Decisions about ongoing monitoring will be determined by the purpose of applying the CHI. Usually follow–up is important. Creating a record (from both CHI scores and the associated photographic record) of cultural health over time will allow trends in the health of the streams and rivers within your rohe to be identified and monitored.
To monitor stream health over time, data must be gathered in a consistent manner and on a regular basis. It must be stored in a way that it can be easily retrieved and compared to newly gathered data.
The timing of repeat assessments is important to capture trends. Stream sites should be monitored at the same time each year and preferably during the summer when stream health is likely to be under the most pressure. If monitoring is required on an annual or two yearly basis, a monitoring plan can be developed. This will ensure that the team is ready to assess the sites at the right time of the year, as laid out in the schedule.
The ongoing use of the CHI has many benefits and can link to a range of other activities your hapū or iwi may be involved in.
Ways the CHI could be used in the future:
- to identify sites of significance for ongoing monitoring by your hapū/iwi
- to educate others about your sites of significance and increase recognition of these sites
- to restore the health of degraded waterways
- in case studies of freshwater stream and river management options
- to monitor changes in mahinga kai resources
- to monitor the impacts of different land use.
Ways the CHI fosters working with councils:
- provides councils with a better understanding of the key pressures on the environment for cultural health and the state of the environment from a tangata whenua view
- enhances tangata whenua participation in resource management
- identifies possible changes to council resource management plans through the observations made during monitoring
- gives early warning of problems in waterways before they become serious
- motivates for change through documented evidence (robust data over a period of time) when monitoring shows that current approaches may not be working (e.g. streams are being degraded)
- increases the effectiveness of tangata whenua input into council policy and plan making.