In Aotearoa, the traditional concept of kaitiakitanga means guardianship, protection, or preservation. It is a way of managing the environment, based on the traditional Māori world view. A kaitiaki would ensure that the mauri (life force) of a taonga is healthy and strong. Since arriving in Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori acquired a wealth of detailed knowledge as they sought to maintain the mauri of the land.
To understand the world, humans must understand relationships between themselves and the environment in which they live. People are part of the environment – not superior to it. The condition or health of the people and the environment are intricately related. The saying ‘Ko au te whenua, ko te whenua ko au’ (I am the land, the land is me) depicts the relationship between people and the environment. Kaitiakitanga invites people to form and maintain relationships with the environment in which they live.
As a result, a few questions to ponder about: What are our responsibilities as a kaitiaki towards the land and the people?
How can we be more in tune to feedback from nature?
What are some ways for us to self regulate ourselves within our ecological niche?