Water study gets flowing
11 September, 2013
Water study gets flowing
Two University of Waikato researchers will head a $1.84 million, four-year project examining freshwater food gathering areas and how best to manage them through the use of both science and traditional Māori knowledge.
Deputy Director of the University’s Te Kotahi Research Institute, Maui Hudson and Associate Professor Kevin Collier from the Faculty of Science and Engineering will head the study, Ngā Tohu o te Taiao: Sustaining and Enhancing Wai Māori and Mahinga Kai, with the first step to identify knowledge gaps and study locations.
The research project – developed out of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s new ‘sandpit’ process for identifying research and collaborative research teams - will consider what role mahinga kai could have in representing the state of our fresh water resources, how synergising mātauranga Māori and Western science could enhance the credibility of limits set on using those resources and the best way to communicate research results from hapū level to a national level.
Hudson says they initially want to get together with everyone involved in the study– other universities, Crown Research Institutes, iwi, Waikato-Tainui College, the Waikato Raupatu River Trust and local government – “and get everyone on the same page with what we’re doing”.
While the ultimate result would be cleaner water, Collier says that won’t happen with the study.
“It’s the process of how mahinga kai can inform limit-setting that we’re interested in,” he says.
“How people can work together and make use of different things from science and mātauranga Māori.”
The main study sites are also to be selected, with the lower Waikato River a likely area for the research.
Hudson says the increase in co-governance models for waterways, including the Waikato River, has seen an increased need for the inclusion of both Western science and Māori values in setting achievable objectives and enduring outcomes for freshwater management.
“We expect there will be more of this process of co-management over time and we aim to show how mātauranga Māori and science can be used together to inform those decisions.”
the process which will come out of the study well be able to
be used as a template for studies on other
”We will get an understanding of the limits required to sustain mahinga kai. We will be able to say ‘this worked in these habitats and for these species to provide a starting point for conversations elsewhere’.”