• Active project

Ngā Tohu o te Ao: Maramataka and marine management

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

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


Māori lunar 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 lunar 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?

Ngā Tohu is set across three case study areas, Pākirikiri Wānanga – Tokomaru Bay, Ngātaki Collective – Ngāti Kuri, and Manaaki Te Awanui – Tauranga Moana.

Research Team

Waiaria Remeka (Manaaki Te Awanui)
Caine Taiapa (Manaaki Te Awanui)
Kelly Ratana (Manaaki Te Awanui)
Te Rerekohu Tuterangiwhiu (Wheiao Whakaaro)
Karen Pewhairangai (Pākirikiri Wananga)
Rawinia Olsen-Kingi (Pākirikiri Wānanga)
Karauria Ratapu (Pākirikiri Wānanga)
Wayne Petera (Ngātaki Collective)
Ayani Ferens (Ngātaki Collective)
Phil Ross (University of Waikato)

Related News



  • December 2020
    Report describing the process of engagement, co-development, kawa and tikanga for the project
  • March 2021
    Report on indigenous knowledge regarding Maramataka and the practical applications to the coastal environment
  • June 2021
    Resource describing the learnings of the collated indigenous knowledge regarding Maramataka
  • December 2021
    Resource on the process for developing localised tohu using maramataka
  • March 2022
    Coastal Indicator Framework is developed based on localised maramataka for the case study groups
  • June 2023
    Report synthesising key learnings, processes and frameworks of the project describing recommendations for EBM