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He Arotakenga Manawaroa – A kaupapa Māori framework for assessing resilience

Awatere S, Harmsworth G, Taylor L, Harcourt N. 2019. He Arotakenga Manawaroa: a kaupapa Māori framework for assessing resilience. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research New Zealand Limited.


The concept of resilience has recently gained traction in a range of contexts. Its various interpretations and framings are now used to examine a variety of issues and responses, particularly those relating to the human dimensions of national risk and hazardous events, often highlighted through global change. For indigenous Māori in Aotearoa-New Zealand, resilience means many things. Within its many definitions are central notions of building a strong and vibrant social, cultural, environmental, and economic capital base or fabric (tūāpapa, whāriki) on which to grow resilient and sustainable communities and environments. This can be achieved, for example, by enhancing whaiora, oranga tangata – the health and well-being of people, strengthening social capital such as through whanaungatanga (relationships, family) and hononga (social connections, bonds, cohesion), developing a strong economic resource capital base – whai rawa, and sustaining and enriching mauri taiao, protecting the natural capital and mauri (energy, life force) of the environment and resources. A core component for Māori is to build a strong social structure to strengthen culture and cultural identity, with many linkages and networks (tūhono, whakapapa). Marae are obviously an important element within this social and cultural development, as well as the building of community, enterprise, resources and assets.

He Arotakenga Manawaroa is a kaupapa Māori approach and tool presented within an outcome-based sustainable planning framework. It provides a holistic approach for assessing and evaluating resilience within three main interlinked domains or wāhanga. The assessment tool is based on three core values: Kia whakaora ngā whānau, Kia whakahoki te mauri, and Kia whakapakari ngā kāenga/kāinga. It comprises qualitative and quantitative measures (ngā inenga) using indicators across the key domains of cultural, social, environmental and economic. It then uses these domains to construct a more complete long-term picture of resilience that can be measured against stated aspirations, goals, and objectives. The approach can be used to assess a level of risk and resilience for Māori communities and enterprise, as well as resources and assets – pre-event and post-event. The derived information can then be used to formulate adaptation and response plans, strategies and actions, in order to build long term sustainable and resilient communities.

This tool provides a Te Ao Māori holistic perspective, and a complementary data set when used alongside economic, scientific, and technically based data, methods, tools for planning. The structure and content of the tool can be tailored for use by local Māori or enterprises wanting to apply their own values or data while the methodology, measures, and process remain consistent and generic.

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