Kaikoura History - Changing Landscapes
The dispossession of land that followed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the Kaikōura Purchase had a profound effect on the spiritual, cultural and mahinga kai relationship between Ngāti Kuri and the environment. With settlement and agriculture came land clearance, habitat loss, drainage and diversions of natural waterways, and the introduction of exotic species. As the physical landscape changed, so did the ability of Ngāti Kuri to access manage resources upon which they depended.
Customary management practices, based on the principle of kaitiakitanga, once allowed tangata whenua to sustainably harvest and conserve natural resources. Over time, external management structures marginalised tangata whenua from decision-making processes pertaining the lands and waters of Te Waipounamu.
Despite the changes in land ownership, and the ability of Ngāi Tahu to express traditional relationships and exercise kaitiaki responsibilities, the history and identity of Ngāti Kuri remains on the landscape. Wāhi ingoa (place names) and other culturally important landscape features are tangible reminders of the extent of customary land use and occupancy, and to the degree to which tangata whenua understood and interacted with the landscape. The knowledge and stories that have been passed on through generations keep ancestral connections with significant places strong.
Ref: Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura (2005). TE POHA O TOHU RAUMATI: Te Mahere Whakahaere Taiao o Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura 2005/Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Environmental Management Plan 2005.