What is Kaitiakitanga

"Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints"-Dad

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Concepts that describe the Maori idea of Kaitiakitanga (or the idea of guardianship and protection of the forest), are Mana, Tapu and Mauri. This implies that the forest holds a spiritual power, life force and demands the need for spiritual restrictions.

The word mana relates to the spiritual power of a forest, in its flora and fauna, and is increased with greater numbers of these.

Mauri is the life force of the forest that needs to be protected. Previously, a stone represented the life force of the forest. It would be preserved and protected as it is believed that a healthy life force is necessary to the mana of the forest.

Tapu represents the restrictions surrounding kaitiakitanga that are put in place to allow the forest’s mana to thrive and take hold.

For teenagers today, the key concepts of kaitiakitanga remind us that the forest and outdoors are places of life, hold great power and have an importance in our world. It is up to us as citizens to respect the mana of the forest and understand the meaning of Tapu.

Knowing these are places of life, means we treat the forest as a living area.

This means: -do not litter as littering in the forest is just as good as leaving your junk around someone’s home

-To not destroy the area by hurting animals and breaking plants because this is like breaking someone’s expensive vase

-To “Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”