Te Mana o Te Wai Learning Programme

The Department of Internal Affairs engaged with Sysdoc to develop a ‘gold standard’ solution to inform the workforce on the importance of Te Mana o te Wai in their everyday roles.

Looking for a ‘Golden Standard’ Solution

In response to a 2016 drinking water contamination, parliament passed the Water Services Entities Act in 2022 to set out the creation of new water services bodies to oversee water services. A core part of the Act is the perspective of the indigenous Māori population. For Māori, water is intertwined with spirituality, tradition, and well-being. Central to this perspective is the concept of Te Mana o te Wai, translating roughly to The Authority of the Water.

The Department of Internal Affairs engaged us at Sysdoc to look for a ‘golden standard’ solution to educate and inform the existing workforce on the importance of Te Mana o te Wai in their everyday roles and demonstrate the value of the indigenous perspective.

The Challenge

  • We were engaging with a widely dispensed target audience and learners who were time-poor and experiencing feelings of change fatigue.  
  • Te Mana o te Wai is embedded in a Māori worldview and concepts are voiced in Te Reo Māori (Māori language).  The audience overwhelmingly has English as their first language, making the use of Māori much more challenging.
  • We had to navigate the political sensitivity of the subject matter and develop the content in such a way that it was acceptable across both the Iwi and political views.  

Our Approach

We met the challenges by developing a highly interactive eLearning that was tailored to our client’s needs. We focused on relevance to the audience and embedding the storytelling nature of indigenous culture.

The eLearning took the learner on the journey of water as it travels from the sky, down the mountainside, to the sea with high quality visuals from the graphic design team and a native Māori speaker was hired to read the voiceover and provide pronunciation for key words.

By embodying all these elements, we were able to successfully capture the indigenous voice in its complexity and create something that genuinely speaks to Māori communities and Te Mana o Te Wai.

An uplifting experience, great work in explaining these key and important concepts.



Te Mana o te Wai


Department of Internal Affairs

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Case Study Performance

4.7/5 rating

on average by participants

85% of comments

Submitted provided positive feedback with no suggestions for changes

26% of positive

comments focused on the clarity and conciseness of the module

20% commented

on the nature of the course "very engaging and informative'

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Peter Auckram

Peter Auckram

Head of Growth

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