Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Vision Mātauranga

Māori TV filming Sue Scheele in the National Flax Collection.

Māori TV filming Sue Scheele in the National Flax Collection.

Goal: Landcare Research is a key, preferred partner for Māori in enhancing the sustainable value of Aotearoa's land-based natural resources

For more than 20 years Landcare Research has successfully collaborated with Māori organisations to build their research capacity and to improve the management of natural resources using both mātauranga Māori and science. Landcare Research is forming new relationships with a number of iwi across a variety of projects, particularly in relation to biological heritage. We continue efforts to strengthen important mature relationships in strategic areas such as:

  • Biodiversity (e.g. with Ngātiwai , Tūhoe Tuawhenua, Ngāti Awa, Hauraki)
  • Māori land development (e.g., with Atihau-Whanganui Incorporation)
  • Land use planning (e.g. Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu), and
  • Freshwater-catchment management (e.g. Waikato-Tainui, Rangitāne o Manawatū) Tūhoe Tuawhenua continues to be a long-term research partner and valued member of our Outcome Advisory Panel.

Key performance indicator

During the year, we engaged with 22 iwi, hapū and Māori organisations in projects that linked science and mātauranga Māori, or which addressed Māori goals and aspirations (23 in 2013 and 2012).


Partnering with Waikato-Tainui

In 2013 we signed an MoU with Waikato-Tainui to work with them to address significant environmental issues, with a focus on improving the health or mauri of the Waikato River catchment and wetlands, demonstrating through joint projects how mātauranga Māori and science can be used to better inform decision-making for freshwater management. The formal MoU strengthens our mutual co mmitment to the partnership approach.


In addition to working with individual iwi, we have continued to develop the Māori Land Visualisation Tool (WhenuaViz) by collaborating with government agencies such as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to improve access to data for Māori land utilisation, and with a number of Māori organisations and Māori landowners including Te Tumu Paeroa (the new Māori Trustee). Up to 80% of Māori land (6% of the total New Zealand area) could be more productively used. WhenuaViz helps Māori land owners and managers to better understand their land’s physical characteristics and natural capital; supports Māori aspirations for agri-business; and enables cultural, social, economic and environmental goals to be explored.

Website: WhenuaViz

Kaitiakitanga for Māori economic development

The Makirikiri Aggregated Trust consists of 10 Māori land blocks in the Wairarapa, totalling 409 ha. The Trust currently runs sheep and beef stock but is looking to diversify into other land uses in ways that are consistent with the principle of kaitiakitanga. We are leading a Sustainable Farming Fund project with the Trust and other science agencies to improve planning across multiple scales in a multi-functional landscape. Systemwide modelling integrates land, water, biodiversity, social, cultural and economic factors. This holistic approach is aligned with cultural values that support kaitiakitanga (sustainable resource management) including manaakitanga (reciprocity), and with whakatipu rawa (growing the asset base). The intended outcome is a more balanced approach to land management. A series of field-days have been held with the community to share learnings from the project, and to promote the science, tools, technologies and career opportunities in the industry.

Cultural values in water reforms

Maori freshwater researchers L-R back: Garth Harmsworth (Landcare Research), John Te Maru (Waikato-Tainui), Kevin Eastwood (University of Waikato), Maui Hudson (University of Waikato). L-R front: Yvonne Taura (Waikato-Tainui and Manaaki Whenua fellowship), Jacqueline Henry (Waikato Regional Council), Erica Williams (NIWA), Bradley Moggridge (aboriginal freshwater scientist, New South Wales), Shaun Awatere (Landcare Research), Mahuru Robb (Landcare Research), Jane Kitson (Ngāi Tahu). Image - Bradley MoggridgeThe decline in water quality and quantity, and its state of mauri, is a significant issue for Māori. The government’s proposed RMA freshwater reforms set out a new approach to managing fresh water nationwide, including the role of iwi in planning and decision-making. We developed a methodological framework, centred on core Māori values and principles, to provide a robust process for increasing iwi/ hapū participation in freshwater management. The framework’s effectiveness has been demonstrated in the Kaipara Harbour catchment (with Te Uri o Hau), and in the Manawatu River catchment (with Rangitāne o Manawatū). Continuing work with both iwi is evaluating the application of catchment-modelling approaches using tools such as GIS, CLUEs and SedNetNZ to identify critical source areas of freshwater contaminants (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus, pathogens, sediment).

National New Zealand Flax Collection

We are custodians of the Core-funded New Zealand Flax Collection (a living collection of cultivars of traditional importance to Māori). As well as providing material to weaving groups, the collection hosts interest groups and is used for research purposes. This year, a production crew from Māori Television visited Lincoln to film the weaving varieties that are valued for cloak-making and to talk about other community and research uses of the collection. This year, we completed a systematic assessment of the characteristics of 70 harakeke cultivars collected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by New Zealand Chief Forester Henry Matthews for their ornamental interest or their potential value as breeding stock for the flax fi bre industry. The assessment covered morphological characters, functionality and suitability for weaving (using traditional Māori techniques) and genotyping. The latter revealed that several harakeke were clones of known weaving varieties, indicating that valued selections were moved about among Māori communities and commercial flax millers.
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Website: National New Zealand Flax Collection