2018 innovation stories
Our Core Purpose is to drive innovation
Manaaki Whenua scientist is Zonta Science Award winner
A love of the natural world saw Manaaki Whenua scientist Dr Jessie Prebble named the 15th Biennial Zonta Science Award winner. The award was established in 1990 by the Zonta Club of Wellington to further the status of New Zealand women in science.
Ancestral knowledge in the classroom
Manaaki Whenua researchers have launched a bilingual teacher guide and a student booklet in te reo aimed at teaching Māori students ancestral knowledge about fungi (hekaheka).
Soil core scanning, national inventory and monitoring
Globally, soil scientists have turned their attention to soil carbon research to investigate how much carbon is contained in soils and how best to retain or increase soil carbon stocks. Any increase is a direct offset to greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and could be accounted for in national accounting and emission trading schemes.
Wai Ora Wai Māori app launched
Developing a deeper understanding of the state of Māori natural food and traditional resources was the drive behind the creation of the Wai Ora Wai app.
Remote sensing utilised
Manaaki Whenua has a long history of research leadership in environmental monitoring from space, using state-of-the-art remote-sensing technologies, satellite imagery, and smart science to cost-effectively map the vegetation (land cover) across the length and breadth of New Zealand.
Land Domain Report collaboration
Manaaki Whenua contributed many of the data sets, computer models, and peer-reviewed science that underpinned the Our Land report.
Honey presents golden opportunities
Mānuka and kānuka honey are in high demand worldwide, and Manaaki Whenua is working with Māori landowners on ways to drive further value from local varieties.
Combating wilding conifers
Wilding conifers are a huge threat to New Zealand’s environment. The non-native trees, also known as wilding pines, now invade more than 1.8 million hectares of land.
Landscape-scale predator control pays off
Large-scale landscape predator control is a vital component of many restoration projects across the country. The Cape to City programme in Hawke’s Bay is a great example of a collaborative approach to this work to restore natural habitats and improve biodiversity, underpinned by Manaaki Whenua’s research and expertise.
New methods help in kauri dieback management
Kauri dieback disease has spread quickly over the past decade, killing thousands of kauri. The Phytophthora agathidicida pathogen was first identified on Great Barrier Island Aotea in 1972, with Manaaki Whenua’s Dr Bevan Weir leading the description of the ‘kauri-killer’.
Research critical to virus release
The work of Manaaki Whenua scientist Janine Duckworth has helped support this year’s release of the RHDV1-K5 rabbit calicivirus in New Zealand.
Science key to the national myrtle rust incursion response
Myrtle rust is a plant pathogen that can devastate pōhutukawa, rātā, mānuka, kānuka and other native trees. New Zealand is particularly at risk from this disease, as trees in the myrtle family are highly represented in our forests. Not only can the disease affect the environmental values of our forested landscapes, but it potentially has economic implications for New Zealand’s high-value honey industry.
Te weu o te kaitiaki (the roots of the guardian)
Manaaki Whenua has been working with the Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust and the Ruatāhuna community to develop and test a complementary forest monitoring package that uses both mātauranga and scientific approaches in forests of importance to them.
DNA sequencing unveils past environments
Manaaki Whenua has a long history of using microfossils to reconstruct past environments. Information about the past helps us to improve our understanding of how current ecosystems function, and provides pre-human baseline information, which can inform conservation and restoration planning.