This article explores the Indigenous principle of kaitiakitanga as it relates to Māori agrifood practices. Our discussion is based on interviews with a small cross-section of Māori in the agrifood sector whose practices are informed by a long-standing appreciation of the interconnected realities of lands, food, people and waterways. We consider how the shared Kaupapa Māori principles underpinning these food practices form part of a wider Kaupapa Māori land, water and food systems approach which we call “Kai Ora”. As is evident in the stories that follow, Kaupapa Māori values are practised in diverse ways by different kaitiaki food producers.
How might Māori values in relation to soil contribute to national strategies for identifying, maintaining and enhancing soil health? This article uses the Hua Parakore framework, a kaupapa Māori approach developed out of the Māori organics sector, to address these questions. Soil is an essential national resource on which New Zealand’s primary sector and agriculture industries depend. Soil is also part of the woven universe constituting Māori ways of knowing and doing (Marsden, 2003).