Our Principles

These reflect Ngāi Tahu’s commitment to protect, promote and sustainably utilise the resources that are integral to the maintenance and preservation of the Ngāi Tahu culture as the kaitiaki (steward) of the environment in its rohe (tribal area). 

They outline the way Ahikā Kai food producers utilise and interact with species and their environment to form a unique overall ecosystem ‘ki uta ki tai’ (from the mountains to the sea).


Resource management practices should sustain and enhance the health of plants, animals, humans and the diverse ecosystems in which we all live. This is achieved by avoiding where possible, the use of fertilisers, pesticides, drugs and unnatural additives that may have a negative impact. 

Hauora encompasses the integrity, wairua (spirit) mauri (life essence) and entirety of living systems and the relationships Ngāi Tahu has with them. It’s not simply the absence of illness or pollution, but the maintenance of the inter-connections between physical, mental, cultural, spiritual and ecological well-being that sustains the ahi kā (home fires) of the Ngāi Tahu people.

The purpose of Ahikā Kai is to produce quality, nutritious food that contributes to preventive healthcare and well-being without diminishing the mauri of the inter-connected ecosystems.


Based on an holistic approach, sustainable management is promoted through the implementation of ecological farming practices, establishment of biodiverse habitats, protection of the quality and quantity of freshwater resources and the maintenance of natural and agricultural diversity.

Ahikā Kai fishing methods focus on the kaitiakitanga of targeted species, allowing for the maintenance of healthy populations, along with associated or dependent species, and the protection of the biological diversity and habitat of aquatic life.


The production, marketing and fair trade of Ahikā Kai is driven by a belief in transparent, open, equitable systems and accounts for real environmental and social costs. 

Whanaungatanga is characterised by equity, respect, social justice and stewardship of the shared world; among people and in their interactions with other living things. Natural resources that are used for production and consumption in accordance with the Ahikā Kai principles will be managed in a way that is socially and ecologically just, and viable for future generations "mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei" (for us and those after us).


In addition to a high degree of care, respect and integrity whilst managing our delicate ecosystem, producers must adhere to strict health and safety practices in the handling and harvesting of food. This ensures peace of mind for producers and consumers. 

All ecosystems will be managed in a proactive and precautionary manner to protect the whakapapa (geneaology), wairua and mauri of resources and the environment that sustains them. Care will be taken by utilising a precautionary approach to unpredictable technologies such as genetic engineering, animal cloning, irradiation and inappropriate applications of nanotechnology consistent with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu’s genetic engineering policy.


This encompasses the mātauranga (knowledge) that’s been gained by Ngāi Tahu from centuries of experience in sustainably utilising the natural resources of its ancestral land, and incorporates the following:

A.  Whakapapa (Genealogy)

Whakapapa provides the foundation of Ngāi Tahu cultural identity and tribal membership. The protection of the natural integrity of the whakapapa (genetic make up) of mahinga kai (wild food) resources is of paramount importance.

B.  Rangatiratanga (Self-determined leadership)

Refers to the right to exercise authority over mahinga kai resources and the ecosystems in which they’re grown, hunted and/or harvested.

C.  Kaitiakitanga (Stewardship)

Refers to the governance over mahinga kai operations to ensure environmental sustainability.

D.  Wairua (Spirit) and Mauri (Life Essence)

The promotion and protection of the wairua and mauri of resources through ecologically wise kaitiakitanga is about ensuring the ethical treatment and optimum health of mahinga kai species so that food produced is of high nutritional value for those who eat it. 

E.  Mātauranga Taiao (Environmental knowledge)

The Ngāi Tahu farmer, fisherman and/or hunter involved in an Ahikā Kai operation must apply a contemporary understanding of traditional Ngāi Tahu values when carrying out procedures to ensure legality, environmental sustainability and the production of quality food that’s safe for human consumption.  This includes respecting resource management tools and policies developed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Papatipu Rūnanga.