Credit: Dave Allen NIWA

Posted on 18 February 2022

Education resource: Restoring kuku beds

The team behind the Awhi Mai Awhi Atu project are bringing together mātauranga Māori and western science to help understand the degrading harbour and aid the recovery of the once abundant kuku/mussel beds in Ōhiwa Harbour.

A new resource produced by the Science Learning Hub looks into how mātauranga Māori is helping to answer important questions about Ōhiwa Harbour. Using local iwi knowledge, the research team have been able to estimate the number, size and shape of mussel beds that would have originally existed in the harbour, providing a baseline for further research.

With kuku being an important aquaculture species in Aotearoa, farmers have found plastic ropes to be the best way to get mussel spat to settle in the area. However, all that plastic in the moana is not ideal.

As such, project leader Kura Paul-Burke enlisted the help of weaving experts to create ropes from native plant fibres. The team were thrilled to find that a few months later, the ropes were weighed down with about 20,000 kuku per line!

This resource was produced as part of our collaboration with the Science Learning Hub, who are using our research to produce a collection of multimedia teaching resources linked to the New Zealand Curriculum.


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