• Active project

Ngā Tohu o te Ao: Maramataka and marine management

We are investigating maramataka (Māori moon calendars) as a framework to develop cultural coastal indicators to inform marine monitoring practices.

Project Leader Duration Budget
Waiaria Remeka (Manaaki Te Awanui) & Caine Taiapa (Manaaki Te Awanui) April 2020 – June 2023 $580,900

Overview

Māori moon calendars, or maramataka, are an ancient knowledge system developed over many millennia though an intimate connection with the environment. Maramataka are a natural timekeeping system that use the movement of the moon through any given month or season to determine appropriate times for various customary activities. Although maramataka are not as widely applied today, the knowledge and practices surrounding moon calendars have been preserved in indigenous communities across the Pacific.

In Aotearoa, maramataka are still applied by indigenous practitioners to inform interaction with the environment and guide ecosystem management practices. The cultural marine and coastal seascapes of Aotearoa have undergone rapid ecosystem change. Understanding the extent of change and the associated impact to social, economic and cultural well-being is critical to effective implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM).

One of the principles of EBM for Aotearoa is that it is ‘knowledge-based’, meaning based on science and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and informed by community values and priorities.

This project addresses the need to reposition mātauranga Māori as an integral and vital knowledge system for understanding coastal ecosystems and informing knowledge-based EBM. Maramataka will be used as a tool to explore mātauranga Māori specific to coastal and marine ecosystems.

We are investigating 3 questions:

  1. How do we reclaim maramataka knowledge and practices to inform transformative practice in coastal and marine assessment?
  2. How can maramataka be used as a catalyst to reclaim mātauranga Māori for the coast and marine environment?
  3. How do we utilise both the maramataka and reclaimed mātauranga Māori to reframe cultural indicator framework development?

Three case study groups will set the foundation for collective inquiry into maramataka and mātauranga Māori, conducted through a series of wananga. These study groups are Pakirikiri Wananga  Ngati Porou (Tokomaru Bay), Waiora Marae – Ngati Kuri (Taitokerau) and Tauranga Iwi Customary Fisheries Trust (Tauranga Moana).

Research Team

Regan Fairlie (Manaaki Te Awanui), Te Rerekohu Tuterangiwhiu (Wheiao Whakaaro), Pakirikiri Wananga (Tokomaru Bay), Waiora Marae (Ngati Kuri), Rereata Makiha/Rihi Motutere, Robert McGowan (Nga Whenua Rahui), Phill Ross (University of Waikato)

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