Mātauranga part of day-to-day mahi at the EPA
A year after its launch, the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) Mātauranga Framework is now being fully implemented into its wider work programme.
Mātauranga Māori can be broadly defined as a body of knowledge, experience, values and philosophy. It includes the unique knowledge and understanding Māori have of te taiao, the environment.
General Manager for Kaupapa Kura Taiao, the EPA’s Māori Policy and Operations team, Erica Gregory, says: "We have spent the past year transitioning the programme into the day-to-day mahi of the EPA.
"Feedback from staff and decision makers has been overwhelmingly positive. They say the training received has opened their minds to the importance of considering mātauranga evidence when making decisions."
Included in the training is a mock hearing where participants practise how they might test and probe mātauranga evidence through a mock scenario.
Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Decision-making Committee member Dr Louise Malone took part in the training earlier this year.
Dr Malone says: "The course gave me a much deeper understanding of Te Ao Māori, Te Titiri and mātauranga Māori and most importantly, showed me how I could use this knowledge to make better decisions.
"The mock hearing allowed us to test the techniques we had learned in a safe space and to gain confidence in weighing up different perspectives, and then authentically incorporate them into our decision. It was a superb course; we all gained so much from it."
Not only has the EPA’s Mātauranga Framework been well received by staff and decision makers, over the past year it has attracted interest from other government agencies, national and international researchers, and media.
Erica Gregory says: "While the framework is being implemented into the EPA’s mahi, we will continue to refine it and continue with training for decision makers and staff. Our next Mātauranga Framework training session is scheduled for the end of this year, and once we have a full year of the programme behind us we will evaluate our progress."
While the Mātauranga Framework is a new initiative, as a routine part of our work at the EPA, Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao, our Statutory Māori Advisory Committee, provides advice from a Māori persepctive on a range of applications.
Kaupapa Kura Taiao, our Māori Policy and Operations Group, provides guidance to applicants about the importance of engaging with Māori. Alongside our business groups, it also raises awareness of the role of the EPA and on how Māori can participate in the decision-making processes of the EPA.
Te Herenga, our regionally based network of kaitiaki and environmental resource managers, is also supported to come together and discuss important environmental issues.