• Summary

Revitalising mātauranga Māori in marine management

To achieve impact with our research on enhancing mana moana, we work to ensure the right people have the right information in the most useful form to drive a uniquely Aotearoa transformation of our marine economy and the health of our seas. Having iwi, hapū, and Māori practitioners and communities leading efforts to reclaim, revitalise, and restore mātauranga Māori is an integral part of this mahi. 

In 2022/23, our research helped influence: 

  • Maramataka-based biosecurity monitoring plans in the Bay of Plenty
  • A framework for customary coastal fisheries plans in Te Tairawhiti
  • A kaitiakitanga-based approach to ecosystem-based management in the Bay of Plenty and beyond
We worked with iwi, hapū, and Māori partners on biosecurity monitoring plans based on maramataka – and earned the support of the regional council 

Ngā Tohu o Te Ao and Te Tāhuhu Matatau o Tangaroa project teams are supporting iwi and hapū to reclaim and revive the knowledge and practice of maramataka; a very place specific approach to using lunar cycles to understand and inform environmental practice. This research includes developing maramataka-based marine biosecurity monitoring plans across three Tauranga Harbour hubs.  

The work has been popular and caught the attention of Bay of Plenty Regional Council who saw the value of the research to their objectives and co-funded (to the value of $140k) over two years various hapū within Tauranga Moana to participate in the project. The Council have also agreed to fund a continuation of this important work once Challenge funding concludes, through to June 2028. This is a considerable milestone for the project and contributes to long-term outcomes for the hapū involved, and to the long-term work plan for the regional council.

We worked with local groups to co-develop a framework for coastal fisheries plans  

The Huataukina o hapū e! project has been working with hapū in Te Tairawhiti on the application of the Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Act 2019 through the development of tools, processes, frameworks, and policies that will inform decision-making at multiple levels. The research has been used to inform and underpin the development of customary fisheries plans for the kaitiaki trusts of Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou alongside Fisheries NZ. 

The team were also asked to present their findings and learnings to Te Aitanga-a-Mate, Te Aowera, Te Whānau a Hinekehu Kaitiaki Trust to inform their strategic planning and approaches to educating trustees and whānau about the provisions of the Act to strengthen and enable customary governance and practice over their rohe moana. 

The project has supported hapū and kaitiaki trusts in Tairawhiti to build their own understandings and processes relevant to rohe moana, enabling them to work effectively alongside the District Council and Fisheries NZ to achieve their mutual aspirations.

We’ve shared kaitiakitanga approaches to ecosystem-based management (EBM) 

The Awhi Mai Awhi Atu: Enacting a kaitiakitanga-based approach to EBM project has been extremely successful in reviving mātauranga-based knowledge and practice around sustainable mussel bed restoration and the management of an over-population of seastars. This work has been led by the iwi of Ōhiwa Harbour in partnership with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, community, and agencies, resulting in approval of a project developed management plan and a commitment to secure long-term funding for its implementation. 

As a result of this success, the team were asked by several other iwi and hapū from around New Zealand to share their research to inform application on other regions.  Groups have been keen to discuss mātauranga Māori mapping methods, ways to replicate taura kuku (natural fibre mussel seeding lines), and quantitative field methods to assist their priorities in both moana (marine) and wai māori (freshwater) restoration initiatives. Invitations were received by Ngāti Toa Rangatira, a Taranaki hapū collective, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Awa mana o te wai and Te Moananui a Toi. Further invitations have come from Revive our Gulf, Plant and Food Research, NIWA, ESR, Te Patuharakeke and Ngāti Whakaue ki Maketu. 

At a meeting of the Ōhiwa Harbour Strategic Coordination Group the Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and the Manager for Ngāti Awa Customary Fisheries expressed their deep gratitude to the Challenge for supporting the project.