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Science & mātauranga Māori

For around 1000 years in Aotearoa, traditional knowledge (mātauranga Māori) has been handed down from ancestors (tupuna, tipuna), rangatira, kaumātua, kuia, tohunga, and knowledgeable people. Mātauranga Māori, as with other indigenous peoples’ knowledge systems, has an important role in contemporary resource management. Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research is a key partner in working alongside Māori to help achieve kaitiakitanga goals and aspirations.

Mātauranga Māori

Māori are increasingly wanting mātauranga Māori led research programmes that will help them build capacity, develop frameworks for managing their own resources and ensure there are sustainable customary harvesting of taonga species such as the kererū (native pigeon), ōi (grey faced petrel), tuna (eels), and native timber

Since 1992, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research has worked on a number of collaborative research programmes involving significant components of mātauranga Māori. These include programmes relating to Māori values for land use planning, ecosystem health and sustainable development; integrated catchment management; wetland and estuary monitoring and restoration; indigenous biodiversity; ethnobotany; and mixed indigenous forestry. 

Vision Mātauranga

MBIE's Vision Mātauranga policy unlocks the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people. CRIs are now required to enable the innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people as part of their operating principles.

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research's goal is to be a key, preferred partner for Māori in enhancing the sustainable value of Aotearoa's land-based natural resources. Over the past decade, we have expanded the number of Māori entities we partner with in research projects and seek to further improve and increase links with Māori through innovative research that:

  • Addresses Māori development aspirations and needs
  • Protects taonga and natural resources important to Māori, whilst balancing their aspirations for the use and conservation of such resources
  • Acknowledges the place of traditional knowledge alongside western science
  • Continues to grow Māori capability in science research
  • Considers translating this research into policy and practice that best serves Māori communities.

Manaaki Taiao

Manaaki Taiao is a rōpū (group) made up of Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research Kairangahau Māori (Māori researchers) working on Māori-led research projects within a range of science portfolios. 

We work with iwi, hapū and communities to develop strategic planning, policy, and monitoring tools informed by Mātauranga Māori and science to support kaitiakitanga. 

We empower Māori to enact tikanga so that the land and all its fruits can flourish.

Tō mātau whāinga – our objectives

We empower Māori across the science outcome areas through research that is Kaupapa Māori-based and Māori-centred.

We work collaboratively to develop the interface between science and Mātauranga Māori.

Tō mātau wawata - our aspirations 

  • To be integrators across Mātauranga Māori and Western science (including social science).
  • To be integrators with Māori/iwi/hapū/whānau, communities and government agencies.
  • To encourage further development of Te Reo Māori me ngā Tikanga (Māori language and protocols).
  • To be specialists in social science, policy development and implementation, project management, and business development.
  • To ensure research and thought leadership considers kaupapa Māori approaches and methodologies.​​​​​​​

Key contacts