There is increasing recognition that mātauranga Māori and working with Māori communities enhance our understanding of ecology and provide valuable perspectives and frameworks to guide research, management, and policy development. The special issue included an editorial and 13 papers from across New Zealand, with a focus on how mātauranga Māori informs current and future research and decisionmaking in ecology. A key theme was discussion on what constitutes a good partnership, which is an important shift from past discussions that have focused on the requirement to partner with Māori communities.
Manaaki Whenua researchers contributed at least three papers as first authors to the journal, with Dr Priscilla Wehi as guest editor. The papers spanned hangarau pūtaiao (technological science) and the development of a mātauranga pūtaiao mobile application; use of te reo and mātauranga Māori in taxonomy; and the use of Māori species names in scientific communication and reporting.
Behind the scenes, the special issue arose in part because of our partnership with the University of Auckland’s Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity’s Joint Graduate School, through which the necessary collaborations and connections between researchers were made.