Lisa’s year

As the year goes on you wonder where the time went and what did you do with it?

My last 2 years has gone like a flash.  The best way to recap is when I close my eyes and I take snapshots of different scenes which strike me and have significance.  My snap shot looks like this:

  • My Marriage
  • My brothers Marriage
  • An Aviation Business
  • An Indigenous Water Monitoring Programme
  • Domestic Travel…and Travel…..and Travel
  • International Travel
  • Working far too much
  • Making not enough money
  • Then making enough money
  • House Renovations
  • Family Gatherings
  • Motorbikes (MX and Trail Rides)
  • Not enough snowboarding
  • Way too much water skiing
  • Not being organised
  • Then being obsessive compulsive organised
  • Fit and Unfit, then Unfit and Fit
  • Good people, old friends and new friends


What a year! And I do believe the best is yet to come, especially with the expedition to the Ganges on the horizon.  A highlight which aligns with the Expedition has been the Indigenous Water Monitoring programme over the past 12 months.  Working with Ngāti Turumakina (Sub- Tribe based on the southern shores of Lake Taupō, New Zealand), restoring their involvement and management of their environment. Here is a link to some more information  Focus of the programme has been to manage freshwater issues from a recreational perspective, a human use perspective and reinvigorating indigenous management systems over the environment.

We have worked hard to make it fun, informative but also an opportunity to raise the capability of the home people to be confident in their own indigenous knowledge whilst looking after the environment.  We were fortunate to have attendance from early childhood through to grandparents attending the workshops and sharing knowledge with each other.  More importantly the workshops highlighted  the value of what each person offers as individuals to their community and it is not about being an academic or an expert but passion and knowledge of how to care for what you have.

Water research - New Zealand

Hone Warena checking out the minnow traps set to research fish abundance and health, with Department of Conservation worker Michael Hill.

In collaboration with the local Department of Conservation we were able to exhibit ‘Electric Fishing’  to the tribe and for the first time there was evidence of an indigenous fish species seen in the water system.   For the older generation it was a positive sign of the health of the streams but also instilled a sense of protection and excitement to get more involved their own environmental programme.

From my own perspective education on freshwater is not only about the resource itself, but those traditional connections that the community have with that resource.  The most important part of the work we do is for the home people to be confident in who they are, their knowledge, beliefs and language.  Coupled with this is the fact their history and the essence of who they are is reflected in the land and resources around them.  A resource like water is not just a commodity for human use, but for Māori culture in New Zealand it helps tell the story of who we are and sustains life.  This is beautifully articulated in a Māori proverb:

Toi tu te kupu, toi tu te mana, toi tu te whenua

This proverb was spoken by Tinirau of Wanganui. It is a plead to hold fast to our culture, for without language, without mana (spirit), and without land, the essence of being a Maori would no longer exist, but be a skeleton which would not give justice to the full body of Maoritanga (maoridom).

To say the least I am proud to be who I am, amongst my people and humbled by their love for all around them.  It is a great connection with ‘Access Water -Your Expedition 2014’ and I am so excited to be bringing this element to the adventure ahead!!


Fiji in pristine water Mana Island.


Written by Lisa te Heuheu


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