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 was to reach 2015: on 23 November 2012, the Te Waihora Board of Directors and the Regional Council of Te Rénanga o Ngéi Tahu and Canterbury signed a co-governance agreement: 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. An example of co-governance was when the parties jointly applied to Canterbury Regional Council for permission to open and close Te Waihora. Prior to 2014, permission to open the lake was granted only by the Canterbury Regional Council and was primarily used for flood management purposes. The parties wanted the compliant notice procedure to include recognition of the seabed`s ownership and cultural values of Ngi Tahu, which is consistent with the 1990 Order of the National Water Conservation (Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere). The application was accepted and Te R`nanga o Ngéi Tahu and Canterbury Regional Council jointly hold the resource approvals for the opening and/or closing of Te Waihora/Ellesmere Lake to the Sea. The Te Waihora Co-Governing Group consists of four commissioners from the Canterbury Regional Council, five members from Demtatahu, including the Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rénanga o Ngéi Tahu and the Mayor of Selwyn District Council.
The Kaiwhakahaere of Ngéi Tahu and the Chairman of the Canterbury Regional Council are the co-chairs of the group. Funding was an incentive to prepare a co-governance agreement. The Commissioners told us that the Minister had suggested that funds could be allocated to the lake, which allowed and necessitated the conclusion of a relationship: at the same time as the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Ngi Tahu and the Regional Council agreed with the Crown on a cultural and ecological restoration program for Te Waihora, known as Wha Tekaa 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.