Posted on 01 October 2015

Request for Proposals - Tangaroa and Vision Mātauranga programmes

Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge Request for Proposals for projects in the Tangaroa and Vision Mātauranga programmes.


The National Science Challenges are designed to take a strategic approach to the Government's science investment by targeting a series of goals which will have major and enduring benefits for New Zealand.

The Challenges provide an opportunity to align and focus New Zealand's research on large and complex issues and to answer questions of national significance. They do this by drawing scientists together from different institutions and across disciplines to achieve a common goal through collaboration.

Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge

Sustainable Seas is one of 11 National Science Challenges.

The objective of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is to “Enhance utilisation of our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints”.

To meet this objective, the following Mission has been developed to guide the research focus, priorities and activities of the Challenge as it progresses:

Sustainable Seas will drive the transformation of New Zealand’s marine economy. Through input into resource management, we will realise the value, increase use, and maintain the ecosystem health of our vast oceanic and coastal assets. The Challenge will focus on societal participation in marine governance and management to balance the aspirations and rights of Māori, communities and industry, and build New Zealand’s reputation as a world leader in the use and stewardship of its marine estate.

While aiming to meet this objective and mission, the Challenge will also respond to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s policy framework for Vision Mātauranga through the collaborative efforts of the Science Leaders and their programmes. The Challenge will seek to discover measures and outcomes that “unlock the innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people to assist New Zealanders to create a better future”.

All Challenge programmes will be responding to Vision Mātauranga, however gaps in research have been identified in the Vision Mātauranga Programme. These gaps in research did not appropriately sit with any one of the five Challenge programmes.


This call for proposals for four projects in the Tangaroa and Vision Mātauranga programmes is open to all research providers, including those who submitted an expression of interest for the Tangaroa programme previously.

Although expressions of interest were called in March 2015 for the Sustainable Seas Challenge, the focus and intention of the Tangaroa and Vision Mātauranga programmes had not been established.  It is for this reason that we are now calling for more specific and detailed proposals that align with the project outcomes and funding expectations identified below. 

The proposals should be prepared on the template SS Proposal Template (linked below) and the budget should be prepared on the Proposal Budget template (linked below).

Important Note: In 2016, proposals will be sought for a further three projects within the Tangaroa and one from the Vision Mātauranga programmes. These additional projects are outlined in Appendix A which provides the full Tangaroa programme and project briefs. To ensure efficiency of process and to maximise the effectiveness of the research we recommend applicants make themselves aware of this later work.

Sustainable Seas proposal template

Sustainable Seas proposal budget template

Tangaroa Programme

The Tangaroa Programme explores the relationship between mātauranga Māori and Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) to establish pathways for supporting the maintenance of a healthy, productive and resilient marine estate. It is a Māori centred programme focussed on supporting Māori in their effective management and ownership of marine resources, while enabling their place-based knowledge, practices, values and obligations to flourish for future generations. This approach recognises that positively supporting Māori in the governance and management of our marine resources contributes to the potential for enhanced utilisation of those resources.

Overall, research undertaken in this programme should aim to reveal the innovation potential for mātauranga Māori in partnership with EBM science, to better inform management, leadership and decision-making relevant to our marine environment and economy.

Project 3.1.1 Understanding kaitiakitanga in our marine environment

Project Leader: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)


  • How is mātauranga Māori informing values and practices in the marine environment and how can this knowledge better inform decision making for enhanced utilisation?
  • Have these values and practices changed over time impacting on the ability of Māori to contribute effectively to marine management decision making?
  • What does kaitiakitanga mean in the inshore and offshore areas of our marine environment?
  • How is the role of kaitiakitanga expressed and has that expression changed over time?

The role of kaitiakitanga in our onshore environments is relatively well understood and documented in a wide range of publications and in case law largely relevant to Resource Management Act decision making and Waitangi Tribunal claims. However in recent marine management planning and decision making processes relevant to New Zealand’s inshore and offshore environments, the availability of such information has been limited.

Researchers will undertake a desktop compilation and review of existing documents, reports, frameworks, papers and articles relevant to mātauranga Māori and kaitiakitanga practices and interests in New Zealand’s inshore and offshore environments. This dataset will establish a foundation of understanding from which the remainder of the Tangaroa programme, and other programmes can benefit.


  • A baseline dataset of accessible existing mātauranga Māori and kaitiakitanga information relating to the inshore and offshore areas of our marine environment.  This will enable more informed marine management decision making, at least in the focal region, by December 2016.
  • Inputs to the mātauranga Māori repository outlined in project VM 4.1.

Participating organisations: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)

Key collaborations: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)

Funding: Contestable $120k (total funds allocated for phase 1)

Project 3.1.2 Kaitiakitanga in practice in our marine environment

Project Leader: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)


  • What are some contemporary/current examples of kaitiakitanga in practice in our marine environment and do they differ in inshore and offshore areas?
  • What is the relationship between kaitiakitanga and EBM – are there consistencies and what is the nature of the differences?
  • What changes in environment or conditions impact kaitiakitanga approaches and therefore the contribution of Māori to marine management decision making?
  • What indicators do kaitiaki use to anticipate changes in the environment and how do those indicators influence changes in approach?
  • How do traditional indicators contribute to identifying restoration needs and risk management by whānau, hapū and iwi, and could they influence restoration plans and the risk management strategies of other resource users or decision makers?

Researchers will explore the traditional and contemporary application of kaitiakitanga and its associated mātauranga Māori in sustainable use and restoration of the marine environment. To do this researchers will identify ‘in practice’ kaitiakitanga approaches that are based on whakapapa and ‘place based’ mātauranga, values and perspectives.

A core aspect to this work will be the identification and examination of the application of traditional indicators by the case study groups to forecast and anticipate changing conditions. In addition, where such indicators identify degraded ecosystems in the case study area, researchers will work with the relevant iwi and hapū to identify management options.

The project will be undertaken in partnership with two case study iwi, hapū or whānau groups from within the focal region. The project will also be conducted collaboratively with project 2.1.2 (Mauri Moana, Mauri Tangata, Mauri Ora) in terms of identification of, and engagement with case study groups, development of project objectives and methodologies, sharing of information and resources, and project reporting. Together the projects will assess the relationship between the knowledge and application of kaitiakitanga and EBM principles and science. This approach will enable the identification of Māori examples of EBM tools and frameworks and provide the opportunity to develop innovative new EBM approaches based on a mātauranga Māori foundation.

To achieve mutual benefit researchers and iwi partners will co-design and co-develop the framework for undertaking the work including identifying successes, impacts, inhibitors, lessons learned and enablers for ongoing kaitiakitanga and EBM practice. In addition researchers will take every opportunity to offer practical support to kaitiaki initiatives to support their management of risks to customary resources and implement responsive actions. Such support might include directly or indirectly providing information and expertise to specific management issues (e.g. restoration).

In Phase 1 of the Challenge, this project will organise, in collaboration with project 2.1.2, annual wānanga in the case study regions to workshop and share project progress and lessons with iwi beyond the case study groups themselves.  Phase 2 of the Challenge will see this work extended and tested across the broader focal region, and nationally to iwi and hapū with growing marine resource pressures.  This will require engagement and partnerships with groups beyond the focal region and the development of effective ways for sharing information and tools.


  • A suite of EBM solutions for use by case study groups in their management of focal region inshore and offshore resources (developed in collaboration with project 2.1.2).  This will enable better informed decision making in the focal region regarding increased resource use by June 2019.
  • Expertise and practical support provided to case study group kaitiakitanga initiatives and issues to enable the identification and protection of culturally significant environmental and biological constraints by June 2019.
  • Annual wānanga with iwi groups in the case study regions. This will facilitate the dissemination and sharing of information to encourage active participation and more informed marine management decision making by June 2019.

Participating organisations: To be determined in collaboration with the research team for project 2.1.2, and with input from the Kāhui Māori.

Key collaborations: S Awatere, Landcare Research.

Funding: Contestable $1050k (total funds allocated for phase 1)

Project 3.3.1 Understanding the relationship between Māori lore and law

Project Leader: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)


  • How compatible is marine policy and law in New Zealand, with the indigenous lore of iwi, hapū and whānau?
  • How is Māori lore applied in our marine environment?
  • Are there enablers or barriers in policy and law that pose consequences for the application of Māori lore and for the expression of mātauranga Māori and what impact does this have on uncertainty relating to decision making for increased use of resource?
  • Can modifications be made to existing systems to enable Māori lore and law to work together to achieve kaitiakitanga and EBM outcomes?
  • Are there international indigenous examples of the successful application of lore and law?
  • Are there new and innovative models that can be proposed?

This project is in part aligned to the cross-programme project CP1.1 and researchers will both benefit from and contribute to the outputs of that work. However this project diverges by focussing specifically on the impacts (positive and negative) of policy and legislation to the ability of Māori to apply their own tikanga and mātauranga Māori based lore in the sustainable management of marine areas and resources.

Researchers will review existing policy and legislative requirements and implementation on the management of customary/non-commercial and commercial marine interests and activities of specific relevance to Māori. Building on the work completed in 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 2.1.2 and 2.2.1 researchers will then assess whether the ability of Māori to apply or express their mātauranga Māori is inhibited or enabled by policy and legal requirements. For example, the application of rāhui is now reasonably commonplace in coastal management and fisheries, but are there other mechanisms founded in Māori lore that are enabled or limited by legislation.

Overall the project aims to create options and models to better support the management of Māori marine interests and activities in a manner that integrates Māori lore and law.


  • An improved understanding of the Māori lore pertaining to the marine environment.
  • A database of the legal provisions of specific relevance to Māori in the marine environment including in the areas of environmental, fisheries, energy, Treaty settlement, aquaculture law as well as international obligations.
  • An assessment report of existing legal and policy enablers and limitations specifically relevant to the management of Māori customary/non-commercial and commercial marine interests and activities.
  • The development of options and models that enable Māori lore to operate alongside legal frameworks for the improved management of multiple Māori customary/non-commercial and commercial marine interests.

These outputs will clarify an area of uncertainty for regulatory decision makers in the marine environment by June 2019, and lead to options for framework improvements in phase 2.

Participating organisations: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)

Key collaborations: To be determined (RfP to be undertaken Oct-Dec 2015)

Funding: Contestable $195k (total funds allocated for phase 1)

Vision Mātauranga Programme

The Challenge is proactively responding to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s policy framework for Vision Mātauranga by establishing a cross-programme element of the Challenge to work with each programme to embed the themes of Vision Mātauranga policy framework. Each Challenge programme has developed research questions and projects to investigate within their specific areas how to support the development of an EBM approach for New Zealand’s marine resources while also seeking to discover measures and outcomes that “unlock the innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people to assist New Zealanders to create a better future”. However gaps in research were identified by the Vision Mātauranga Programme which did not appropriately sit with any one of the five Challenge programmes.

Project VM2.1 International comparative study: Incorporation of indigenous approaches to guardianship and stewardship in Canada’s resource management policy framework(s)

Project Leader: To be confirmed (RfP to be undertaken in Oct-Dec 2015).


  • What can we learn from the engagement process during the development of Canada’s resource management policy framework(s), where indigenous perspectives were sought and identified?
  • If applicable, how did Canada resolve the indigenous rights and interests in developing and establishing their resource management policy framework(s)? What can we learn from that resolution process?
  • What are the distinctive products, processes, systems and services that empower the indigenous people of Canada in the resource management policy framework(s)?
  • What are the indicators of, and measurements for, success for indigenous perspectives (knowledge, approaches, culture and identity) in Canada’s resource management policy framework(s)?
  • Which areas in Canada’s resource management policy framework(s) are closely aligned with the EBM concept?

The intent of the project is to review, summarise and evaluate international examples where indigenous environmental and economic approaches were incorporated into a resource management policy framework similar to the EBM concept. This will provide the opportunity to learn from the approaches undertaken by countries such as Canada who have a similar colonial history with an indigenous population, similar environmental concerns, and that have been working in this indigenous knowledge space. The aim is to identify any processes and frameworks developed in response to utilising indigenous knowledge in the management of natural resources (whether on land or at sea) within environmental and biological constraints.


  • A document that outlines the following matters to assist with the development of any new distinctive product, process, system and service, by the Challenge:
  • Engagement Process.
  • Resolution of Indigenous Rights and Interests.
  • Frameworks or processes.
  • Implementation of EBM.

This document will be complete by June 2016, and will be used by to inform the Challenge of international successes in engagement and resolution of rights and interests with indigenous peoples. It will outline opportunities to the Challenge as a result of lessons learnt from international examples. The comparative study will also identify frameworks and processes that were developed in recognition of indigenous people’s rights and interest, and where possible, the involvement of those peoples, while implementing an EBM approach to resource management.

Key participants: Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, Whetu Consultancy Group, Tūtaiao Ltd, NIWA and other organisations to be confirmed.

Key collaborations: Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP).

Funding: Contestable $185k (total funds allocated for phase 1)


  • Sustainable Seas proposal budget template

    14 KB | Excel spreadsheet

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