City Rail Link



Tikanga Māori encompasses an important system of customs and values to conserve, manage and protect natural and physical resources.

In the Māori worldview, all natural and physical elements of the world are related through whakapapa (genealogy) and each is controlled and safeguarded through spiritual beings. All living things have mauri. The protection of mauri is essential.

A Mana Whenua forum for the City Rail Link was established in 2012 and continues to flourish. Relationships have been established with the eight iwi who self-identified their interest in the project: Te Ākitai Waiohua, Te Kawerau a Maki, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Tamaoho and Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei.


The aspiration of the CRL project to be exemplary in the practise of sustainability – encompassing the four well-beings (environmental, cultural, social and economic) – aligns and supports kaitiakitanga.

Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau have a special relationship with Ranginui, our Father Sky, and Papatuanuku, our Mother Earth, and their resources. Acting as Kaitiaki (guardians), Mana Whenua endeavour to protect their whānau, hapū and Iwi and encourage all people to act as protectors of the earth.

Kaitiakitanga encompasses:

  • Protecting, restoring, enhancing the mauri (life supporting capacity) of te Ao Māori;

  • Fulfilling spiritual, emotional and inherited responsibilities to the environment;

  • Maintaining mana over te taiao (the environment); and

  • Ensuring the welfare of the people.

In Tamaki Makaurau it is Mana Whenua who are Kaitiaki.

Mana Whenua have worked with the CRL team to ensure that the IS framework reponds to the cultural context of Tāmaki Makaurau:

  • Recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi

  • Identifying opportunities to respond to New Zealand’s cultural context within the Infrastructure Sustainability framework

  • Ensuring the sustainability criteria are compatible with te Ao Māori and

  • Addressing the impact of infrastructure on the cultural values of Mana Whenua.

This is a first, not just in NZ, but globally and was acknowledged in CRL’s IS certification as world leading innovation.

Mana Whenua logos displayed on CRL construction hoardings

Our design integrates the seven Te Aranga principles:


Individual and collective high quality formal relationships


Names and naming as a means of reconnecting iwi narratives to place


The acknowledgement of wider Mana Whenua cultural landmarks



Bring landscape elements back into urban areas


Mauri tu

Maintaining and enhancing the environmental quality of water, air and soil

Mauri toi

Re-inscribing iwi narratives into architecture and urban design

Ahi ka

Exploring opportunities to facilitate a meaningful living presence for iwi