At the end of 2012, the Te Waihora Co-Governance Agreement was signed by the Commissioners for the Environment of Canterbury and the Te Waihora Management Board, following an agreement on a co-governance framework. On 23 November 2012, Te Waihora Council and Canterbury Regional Council signed an agreement on co-governance: on 25 August 2011, the Te Waihora Board of Directors (representing Te Rénanga o Ngéi Tahu) and the Canterbury Regional Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement marked a common commitment to the search for a model of co-governance for the restoration and rejuvenation of the Mauri and the Te Waihora ecosystem. The Te Waihora Management Board then worked with the Department of Conservation on a joint management plan for the lake bed and surrounding areas managed by the Department of Conservation. He also reflected on what would follow and sought closer relationships with Canterbury Regional Council. In 2009, the Canterbury Water Management Strategy (WSC) process was the next opportunity to reflect on a relationship. One participant said, “The seed [for co-governance] has been planted in Canterbury`s water management strategy.” The CWMS has 10 target areas, one of which is kaitiakitanga. Under Kaitiakitanga, the CWMS recorded as its specific objective the co-governance of the Te Waihora watershed. The strategy to be achieved by 2015: He Kupu Whakam-hukihuki / Declaration An important topic for Ngéi Tahu is the limited ability to participate and advance decision-making in the management of the Te Waihora Basin resources. The current state of poor cultural health of Te Waihora and its watershed is evidence that water management and management in the Kaitiakitanga and Rangatiratanga region has not been well identified and served. To solve this problem, it requires better recognition of Ngé I Tahu as a contractor, t`ngata whenua and owner of the Te Waihora Lake Bed and the Te Waihora Board of Directors as a representative of the six Hapa with Kaitiaki interests in the lake. Papatipu Rnanga`s long-term goal is to create a formal agreement on the management of the lake and its watershed, with legal mechanisms to improve cultural health.

At the same time as they signed the Agreement of Intent, Ngéi Tahu and the Regional Council entered into a contract with the Crown for a cultural and ecological restoration program in Te Waihora, known as Te Whakaora Te Waihora. Whakaora means “save, save, resuscitate, resuscitate, heal, heal and heal.” The Regional Council received $6 million from the Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean-up Fund for the restoration and rejuvenation of The Mauritian and Ecosystem Health of Te Waihora. The Crown`s investment benefited from funding from other parties for a total investment of $11.6 million to clean up the lake. The Te Waihora Co-Governance Agreement is a voluntary agreement on co-governance. The commissioners toured the Te Waihora Basin by bus. They met with members of Te Waihora`s Board of Directors and the Board said it wanted to develop co-governance “sooner rather than later.” The commissioners agreed. Canterbury Regional Council staff were asked to prepare an agreement. Nga Kaupapa / Policy TW1.1 To promote a formal joint management agreement between Ngéi Tahu and Environment Canterbury for the active management of Te Waihora and its watershed. TW1.2 Support of Whakaora Te Waihora as a long-term relationship agreement and joint commitment between Ngéi Tahu and Environment Canterbury for the ecological and cultural restoration of Te Waihora.

TW1.3 require local authorities and water management structures to recognize and provide Rangatiratanga and Kaitiakitanga by recognizing: a) recognition of Rnanga o Ngéi Tahu as the owner of the Te Waihora Lake Bed; and b) the recognition and effect of the Te Waihora Board`s mandate to protect tribal property rights for the seabed (see TW2).