Credit: Dave Allen NIWA

Posted on 12 June 2017

Request for proposals: Tangaroa research project

This call for proposals in Tangaroa is for one project that combines two previously described projects outlined in the Research and Business plan. This call is open to all research providers, including those who have previously submitted an expression of interest for Tangaroa.


The 11 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.

The objective of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge is to “enhance the value of New Zealand's marine resources, while providing a healthy marine environment for future generations”.

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


This call for proposals in Tangaroa is for one project that combines two previously described projects outlined in the Research and Business plan. This call is open to all research providers, including those who have previously submitted an expression of interest for Tangaroa.

The proposal and budget should be prepared using this template.

We recommend applicants review the Research and Business Plan to understand the context and potential connections and links to other Challenge projects.

Tangaroa research programme

Tangaroa 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 focused on supporting Māori in their effective management and ownership of marine resources, whilst 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 use 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 3.2.1  The Māori Marine Economy: Ka Mua Ka Muri

This project has two main points of focus:

  • Identifying and examining the multiple economic interests held by Māori in our marine environment, and the value they hold specifically for Māori both in financial and non-financial terms.
    Māori maintain a wide range of interests in the marine environment, whether as cultural interest, non-commercial and/or commercial interests, but the collective ‘value’ or contribution of these interests has not been well quantified in terms of their specific value to Māori.

    Current adopted valuation models promote quantifying value in financial terms, or frameworks where values are measured against criteria that do not recognise or provide for mātauranga and tikanga Māori.

    This project seeks to identify whether there are existing models and/or frameworks (international and national) that recognise and provide for mātauranga (indigenous knowledge) and tikanga Māori.

    Researchers should focus on defining model components of the Māori marine economy through case studies that include kaitiakitanga, multiple interest ownership, spatial conflicts (between cultural and commercial imperatives) and direct and indirect impacts to mana whenua/mana moana (eg the ‘pataka’ fisheries system).

    The interaction between those components will be assessed to identify the barriers and enablers they pose to supporting sustainable practice within a kaitiakitanga and EBM framework. This will include reviewing available models and tools to determine gaps, issues and options for improvement.

    Researchers will work closely with Valuable Seas project 2.2.1 Creating Value from a blue economy, and in particular will collaborate in the development of a possibilities-centred resourcefulness model and the consideration of iwi-based initiatives for concept funding. 
  • Identifying and analysing examples of Māori groups and organisations that are using mātauranga Māori to guide and/or implement distinctive products, processes, systems and services.
    Complementary to point 1, this considers the growing aspiration of Māori to unlock the science and innovation potential of its people, knowledge and resources to create value add opportunities and improved well-being. This is notably relevant to our marine environment with increasing branding and marketing acknowledging the uniqueness of the provenance of our seafood.

    As part of the examination of existing case studies for point 1, the research project should also seek to identify the preparedness of Māori groups and organisations (iwi, iwi commercial entities, Māori businesses) to participate in a blue economy.

Finally researchers will draw together information gained in the project to develop tailored resources and tools that respond to challenges faced by participants in the Māori marine economy.

The resources will aim to provide solutions for the conflicts, uncertainty and trade-offs of use and impacts, and will aim to support the integration of Māori interests and the application of qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. Where possible it will also guide the weighting of different characteristics of importance to Māori, inform the development of management strategies and raise awareness of the potential for cumulative and complex trade-offs.

Potential research questions

  • What are the multiple economic interests held by Māori in our marine environment, and what value do they hold specifically for Māori both in financial and non-financial terms?
  • How do these compare with the interests Māori will have had in the marine economy traditionally?
  • How does mātauranga Māori, cultural values and practices interact or inform Māori business models, products, process or services in the marine estate and what conflicts exist (including spatially)? 
  • What existing models or tools are there for sustainable commercial practice in marine environments that are based on kaitiakitanga and/or EBM?
  • What, if any, are the barriers and enablers to basing commercial practice in the marine environment on kaitiakitanga and/or EBM to enhance utilisation or resources use by Māori?
  • How might kaitiakitanga and EBM be applied to a range of business models, and what trade-offs occur to minimise environmental and biological impacts?
  • What examples exist of Māori groups using mātauranga Māori to inform innovations and unique products or services, and what challenges to these organisations face?
  • What innovative ideas or strategies could be developed to improve economic well-being for Māori toward enhanced sustainable use of the marine estate?


  • A summary and assessment of the quantitative and qualitative value of the Māori marine economy, including outlining the unique and defining features of this economy both direct and indirect.  This improved understanding will enable more informed decision making for Māori, industry and resource managers by June 2019.
  • A summary and assessment of existing mātauranga Māori inspired marine innovations that support the development of distinctive products, processes, systems and services, and the challenges and opportunities to enhance Māori involvement in the distinctive use of marine resources.  This stocktake will inform the Challenge in Phase II (July 2019 – June 2024) of the necessity for the development of policy frameworks and tools to better support Māori participation in a blue economy by June 2019.
  • A modelling tool and information that supports informed decision making by Māori customary/non-commercial and commercial operators in the marine environment that incorporates trade-offs (cultural-commercial, environmental-commercial); options for improved productivity based on kaitiakitanga and EBM; multiple ownership management; impacts; and blue economy opportunities. (To be completed in phase 2 of the Challenge, July 2019 – June 2024.)


Contestable $500k

Further information

Any questions can be addressed to:


Detailed proposals due to [email protected] by noon Friday 8 September 2017.

Applicants will be notified of results in November 2017.

Criteria for assessment of proposals

  • Research clearly articulated, focused and achievable
  • Research technically rigorous and consistent with best practice
  • The research team has a track record of achievement
  • There is demonstrated co-development of the proposal with iwi, hapū or whanau
  • Mechanisms for the utilisation, protection, development and representation of mātauranga Māori are clearly articulated
  • There is demonstration of tangible contribution to Vision Mātauranga policy outcomes

Assessment process

Proposals will be assessed by independent experts, and the Challenge’s Independent Science Panel and Kāhui. These reviews will be considered by the Science Leadership Team.

Related pages
  • SusSeas Research and business plan (Sept 2015)

    2.1 MB | Adobe Acrobat PDF file


  • Sustainable Seas Research Plan 2015

    1.5 MB | Adobe Acrobat PDF file

    Submitted to MBIE

  • Tangaroa research proposal template, May 2017

    46 KB | Word document

  • Diagram: proposal review process

    446 KB | Adobe Acrobat PDF file

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