Credit: David Tip

Posted on 15 April 2022

Our impact on the ‘state of the environment’ report

"Human activities including pollution, overfishing, and impacts from climate change are damaging the mauri of our marine environments and reducing our ability to connect with them.” 

That’s the message from Environment Aotearoa 2022, and our research has shown just how important that connection with the ocean is. 

Findings from our Whai rawa, whai mana, whai oranga project were included in the report, highlighting the relationship between Māori businesses and the environment, and how it can be improved. 

“A survey of people involved in Māori fishing businesses found that maintaining the mauri of the ocean was equally as important as making a profit … a similar majority rated the ability for Māori to exercise kaitiakitanga (guardianship) as limited.” 

The report, which contains mātauranga Māori woven throughout, has some familiar names in it. Shaun Awatere, leader of the Tangaroa progamme, and Dan Hikuroa, co-leader of the Enabling kaitiakitanga and EBM project were both part of the advisory team. 

There are many topics throughout the report that our research is relevant to, such as the decline of key kaimoana (seafood) species. For example, the report spotlighted the: 

  • Decline of kuku/kūtai in Ōhiwa Harbour – The Awhi Mai Awhi Atu project is combining mātauranga Māori, western science and local kaitiakitanga to aid in the recovery of the harbour’s once abundant mussel reefs and shellfish 
  • Collapse of toheroa, an iconic surf clam and taonga species, due to unsustainable harvest and have yet to recover despite 50 years of protection – Thinking outside the can is working to sustainably harvest spat (juvenile toheroa) to supply a community-based toheroa aquaculture industry 
  • Effects of seabed trawling – Our Quantifying seafloor contact project is developing low-cost, user-friendly bottom contact sensors to aid in investigating exactly how, when, and where commercial trawling gear contacts the seafloor, supporting evidence-based decision-making 

The report also touched on the effects of sedimentation on our ocean: “Increased sediment in estuaries and along coasts directly affects the health of many species.” 

More Posts

Related projects & activities

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu: Enacting a kaitiakitanga-based approach to EBM
Credit: Kura Paul Burke
Awhi Mai Awhi Atu: Enacting a kaitiakitanga-based approach to EBM
  • Active project

This project combines mātauranga Māori, science and local kaitiakitanga to better understand the culturally and socially important species i…

More
Ecological responses to cumulative effects
Credit: Ōhiwa Harbour, Sustainable Seas
Ecological responses to cumulative effects
  • Active project

This project brings together mātauranga Māori and science to develop new knowledge about cumulative effects

More
Enabling kaitiakitanga and EBM
Enabling kaitiakitanga and EBM
  • Active project

Exploring how Kaitiakitanga and EBM can operate alongside one another within coastal and marine environments.

More
Quantifying seafloor contact
Credit: Chris Sisarich/NZStory
Quantifying seafloor contact
  • Active project

Investigating and reducing interactions between commercial fishing gear and the seafloor

More
Sediment tolerance and mortality thresholds of benthic habitats
Sediment tolerance and mortality thresholds of benthic habitats
  • Completed project

We investigated the effects that suspended sediment from human activities has on the health and survival of deep water species in the South …

More
Thinking outside the can: Engineering toheroa aquaculture
Credit: Ripiro Beach © Taoho Patuawa
Thinking outside the can: Engineering toheroa aquaculture
  • Active project

Developing sustainable, community-based aquaculture in Te Taitokerau

More
Tipping points in ecosystem structure, function and services
Tipping points in ecosystem structure, function and services
  • Completed project

We investigated how marine ecosystems respond to change, and identified tipping points, risks and ways of managing them.

More
Whai Rawa, Whai Mana, Whai Oranga: Creating a world-leading indigenous blue economy
Credit: Sara Orme
Whai Rawa, Whai Mana, Whai Oranga: Creating a world-leading indigenous blue economy
  • Completed project

This research built a foundation for a world-leading indigenous blue economy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

More