Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Zayn Kassam

Reader 2

Nina Karnovsky

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© 2017 Emily H Freilich


This thesis investigated the restoration of mauri (life-force) to Ōkahu Bay, Auckland New Zealand. Ōkahu Bay is part of the land and waters of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, a Māori hapū (sub-tribe). Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has been driving the restoration, restoring Ōkahu Bay based on their worldview, visions, and concerns. This vision and control of the restoration process allows them to bring in the hapū in sustainable engagement and have the long-term vision and commitment necessary for self-determination. However, while there has been progress with projects and improved decision-making authority, hapū members are still not seeing their whānau (family) swimming in and caring for Ōkahu as much as they would like. Interviewees wanted to see an explicit focus on encouraging hapū members to use the bay, such as more educational programs and water-based activities, and continued efforts to improve water quality. Shellfish populations have also not recovered after a decade of monitoring due to structural aspects such as existing stormwater pipes. Changing these requires Auckland City Council to make stronger commitments to supporting Ngāti Whātua’s restoration. Overall, this investigation showed that in this restoration, a clean environment is essential to build community and a community is essential to build a clean environment. This community-driven restoration, while not perfect, has great potential to truly reconnect people with their environments, decolonize the land and the people, and create thriving ecosystems and people that benefit themselves, their communities, and the wider Auckland community.