For Māori, water is a living entity, the source of life for all things—waiora. The Māori view of water is that all water begins as a sacred gift from the Atua (deities) to sustain life and that all waters have their own mauri or life force. Discharging waste into clean water is an example of unnatural mixing of mauri. This degrades the water quality and pollutes the mauri of water.
Māori prefer stormwater to be treated (preferably land based) before discharge into natural waterways, because they believe the mixing of water and waste pollutes mauri. Low impact urban design is an approach consistent with Māori resource management. It is a design based on ecological and energy-efficient principles and aims to manage the environment in a sustainable way.
Treating stormwater before it is discharged into waterways minimises the impact of pollutants on this water. As a result, waterways could remain healthy, iwi and hapu could harvest natural resources and other values, such as recreational and ecological health, could be available for urban communities.
Text courtesy of Shaun Awatere (Landcare Research).