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  • Kiwi Kai is a farm simulator that explores the relationships between a healthy environment, healthy kai, healthy people and communities. The goal is manaakihia te taiao, whakatipua he kai hauora and manaaki tāngata – care for nature, grow healthy food and care for the community.

    Kiwi Kai virtual farm – an introduction provides an overview of the online experience.

    This resource provides explanations of key te ao Māori and science concepts encountered when using Kiwi Kai. The articles Te ao Māori concepts within Kiwi KaiNgā ariā o Te Ao Māori kei roto i te kēmu Kiwi Kai and Unpacking science teaching with Kiwi Kai provide additional information about the concepts.

    Ecosystem services

    The benefits ecosystems provide for the environment and people. These include services such as nutrient cycling, flood control, provision of food and water and aesthetic and cultural experiences. Cultivated areas can be managed to enhance these services – for example, the preservation or re-establishment of wetlands.

    Forest – ngahere

    Forests are complex ecosystems dominated by trees but supporting a wide variety of biodiversity. Forests are known as ngahere in te reo Māori.


    Living things have a mutual reliance on each other and the processes within a system. When a species or process changes, this often has effects for the whole ecosystem. The effects can have positive or negative outcomes.

    Maara kai

    The term maara kai or māra kai means gardening for food/food gardens.

    Me ōna tikanga

    Māori language and customs.

    Paddock – pātiki

    Paddocks are grass fields, usually fenced, for stock such as cows. They can also be called pastures. Paddocks are known as pātiki in te reo Māori.


    Streams are bodies of flowing water hosting aquatic biodiversity. Streams flow from mountains to sea (kia uta ki tai). Stream can be known as awa in te reo Māori.


    Sustainable food growing is about meeting today’s food needs without compromising on the needs of future generations. Growing sustainable, healthy food means that we look after community, land and the environment while making considered choices about farming and horticultural methods and approaches.


    Te taiao is the environment, nature or the natural world.

    Te mana o te taiao

    Te mana o te taiao is the mana of the environment, the natural world. Taiao is the world, our natural or living environment. Mana o te taiao is therefore the mana of the living environment. Te mana o te taiao means giving status, authority or energy to the living environment that we depend on and draw our wellbeing from. We can give mana to the environment through making decisions and carrying out practices that sustain and enhance the environment (taiao). Māori do this through key concepts such as tikanga (customs, practices) and whakapapa (genealogy, lineage).

    Te mana o te wai

    Water has its own mana (authority/power), which is known as te mana o te wai. Te mana o te wai means the first priority must be to ensure the life-supporting capacity of freshwater. If we do not look after our water and its sources, it will not be able to sustain life on Earth.


    This article was written in collaboration with Garth Harmsworth Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, with te reo citations reviewed by Te Ngaru Wehi.

    The Kiwi Kai project aims to build an understanding of nature-friendly primary production in an engaging way for ākonga. This mahi has been produced with the support of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Curious Minds | Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and many partners.

      Published 24 May 2023 Referencing Hub articles
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