What is Kaitiaki Tools?

Kaitiaki Tools is a guide to teach people (especially hapū and iwi groups) who manage the resource consent process.

Kaitiaki Tools is a guide to teach people (especially hapū and iwi groups) who manage the resource consent process. 

Kaitiaki Tools is centred on freshwater mahinga kai and provides information on potential environmental effects from a range of land use activities and industries. It lists ways an activity can be changed to reduce its impact (mitigation options) and provides links to monitoring tools and regional plans.

In Kaitiaki Tools the term mahinga kai generally refers to indigenous freshwater species that have traditionally been used as food, tools, or other resources.

Kaitiaki Tools also gives a brief background on the resource consent process and guidance on how to prepare a resource consent submission.

This tool doesn't cover all of the potential impacts of every activity, but does provide basic information and links to useful additional resources and contacts.

How to use Kaitiaki Tools

There is more than one path to the information you need, but they all lead to same place. For example, if you were concerned about the impact of a new hydroelectric dam, you could:

  1. Start by clicking on 'What is the proposed activity or industry?' and look for 'energy' and from there choose 'Hydro'. From there you can find general information about the impacts of hydroelectricity projects, as well as pages on each specific effect, such as sediments and damage to riparian vegetation (plants on the edge of streams, rivers, and lakes). This would let you know what would be likely to change. Now you could look at the mahinga kai section and see whether these changes would harm species you rely on. If so, you could include the mitigation options listed on the activity on your resource consent submission, so that any resource consent granted to a developer would be done in a way that avoids the potential damage.
  2. Alternatively, if you had heard that the new dam might cause a problem with plant life on riverbanks, you could start on the 'What impact or effect interests you?' page, and click on the 'Loss of riparian vegetation' link. This page will give a general introduction, and from there you can click on the 'causes' link, which will give a list of the activities that lead to a loss of riparian vegetation. One of them will be 'hydro and riparian vegetation', which is the same page you would have got to by taking the first route!

Across all this content, the impacts, causes, and mitigation links have common graphics, to help you navigate your way around.



One thing you may discover as you use this tool is that one impact can go on to create another. For example, in some circumstances losing plant life can go on to cause erosion, which adds sediment to the water, which can in turn cause an excess of nutrients and a dangerous decrease in oxygen levels. Understanding this chain can show how a little extra effort during a development can save a lot of trouble later on.


Kaitaiki Tools was developed with funding provided by the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) (formerly the Foundation for Research, Science & Technology (FRST)), contract number C01X0304. Support for the continued improvement of Kaitiaki Tools will be provided through MSI contract number C01X1002.

NIWA is grateful for the assistance of a number of external reviewers and editors who reviewed the material contained in this site.