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restoring the mauri of matapouri – stage 1.

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Restoring the Mauri of Matapouri – Stage 1



Whangārei, NZ

The idyllic coastal areas in Whangārei District have seen year on year increases in the number of international and domestic visitors visiting and staying in the beachside towns. Synergine were engaged on behalf of Whangārei District Council (WDC) to partner with local hapū in one of the most popular locations, Matapōuri, to deliver a series of infrastructure improvements to address the acute provision shortfalls during the summer peak period. The 20-month programme was co-funded by WDC and the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and included: -

  • beach restoration work,

  • installation and amalgamation of signage to improve communication with the public and show more of the local cultural identity,

  • the provision of improved waste and recycling facilities

  • increasing publictoilet capacity in the area, and

  • various carpark and road safety improvements.


The delivery of this project was unique in that it sought to partner with the local hapū by fully involving them in the project discussion and decision-making process. The approach aligned with a longer-term aspiration to recognise and enable the local hapū to fully fulfil their role as kaitiaki (guardians) over their ancestral areas. Examples of how Māori were empowered as partners in this project include the adherence to Māori protocol and values during meetings and when making decisions, and the use of Māori concepts like mauri (lifeforce or the life supporting capacity of something) to evaluate the holistic benefit of proposed infrastructure improvements.

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