About this Project


About this Project

More than 90% of New Zealand’s historic wetlands have been lost. These important ecosystems are important for retaining sediment and nutrients, flood protection and attenuating for land and people living downstream, and for water quality.

This project aims to build stronger connections for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa with these important locations using a digital wetlands platform. Funded by MBIE’s Vision Mātauranga and Te Herenga Waka’s Mātauranga Māori funds, this platform includes a Virtual Reality application and a website showcasing interviews and maps. 



The Wairarapa Glistening Water digital wetlands was codesigned by Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Mairéad de Róiste and researchers from the SpatialThink lab at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. It draws on mātauranga Māori, indigenous science and Western science, and weaves together strands and layers of kōrero from different wetlands to uncover meaning and develop understanding of Wairarapa Moana.

The resources include:

  • Interview Videos – Interviews with people from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa with kōrero about their connection to the wetlands and the locations themselves. Themes include local histories and geography, art and culture, pūrākau (ancient legends/stories), and cultural practices.
  • Map Tour – See maps and images of wetlands in the Wairarapa and hear waiata (song) and kōrero (stories) of each repo (wetland). Transcribed audio is also included.
  • Swipe Maps – Two different maps are overlaid, and you an ‘swipe’ from one to the other to easily compare the two. The swipe maps available compare historical and current digital maps, and others show the pre-human and present-day extent of the wetlands in the Wairarapa.
  • Site Videos – These 3D Panoramic videos showcase 5 wetlands in two different seasons with associated waiata (song), kōrero (stories) and natural sounds of each repo (wetland). These are the same sites on the Map Tour. Hosted on YouTube, viewers can change the viewing angle of the videos.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Application – This VR app allows you to virtually visit five key wetlands in the Wairarapa and experience them in two different seasons. The audio includes waiata and kōrero about each wetland by kaumātua from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa. A VR Quest 2 headset is required to use the application available from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.



We are very grateful to the interview participants who spoke with us about their connection to and experience and knowledge of wetlands in the Wairarapa.


Thank you to the landowners and the Department of Conservation for site access.

We would also like to acknowledge the incredible support and effort provided by: Bernard Blackburn, Warren Butcher, Jeremy Cameron, Eleanor Chaos, Matthew Cunningham, Maeve Daglish, Peter Druskovich, Jason Hansen, Kristian Hansen, Pernille Himmelmoe, Sarah Howell, Ben Powley, Diarmaid Roche, Fraser Rivers, Miriam Ross, Lottie Stevenson, Polly Stupples, Jiaheng Wang, Jimi Wilson, and Maja Zonjić. 



Frequently Asked Questions


Education Resources

Website Survey

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and researchers at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington would like to monitor the impacts of the resources on this site, including their usefulness. We invite you to participate in a 10-minute questionnaire about this website and the taonga provided.

Your contribution is important and will help us improve the website and develop future resources as well as contribute to research about connections with the Wairarapa.

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