Vision Mātauranga

  • Co-design is a cornerstone of the way we work.

    Co-design is a cornerstone of the way we work

Māori have strong connections to the biological heritage of Aotearoa, with valuable intergenerational views and belief systems that can underpin decision-making, governance and stewardship.

Blending Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) with modern research methods is a strategic priority for New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

To ensure that Māori researchers and/or iwi, hapū and whānau are embedded in the Challenge, all future investments must demonstrate at least a three on the Vision Mātauranga Classification scale. 

Our Māori Strategy

  • We take a proactive role in partnerships with Māori researchers and communities
  • We create opportunities for emerging Māori leaders and explore co-leadership models
  • We seek to build capacity amongst non-Māori researchers and end users to enable them to work confidently in partnership with tangata whenua
  • We invest in Kaupapa Māori and Māori-led research
  • Co-design is a cornerstone of the way we work
  • We partner with other entities seeking to build Māori capability and capacity across the New Zealand innovation system
  • We enrich our research and innovation investments by blending Mātauranga Māori with contemporary research methods.

Vision Mātauranga (VM) is a New Zealand Government science policy framework, with the goal of unlocking the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Vision Mātauranga is woven through the structure and function of this Challenge.

We have both a Director Māori and Kaihautū embedded within our Science Leadership team. They provide advice and support on VM principles and concepts, Māori world views, tikanga, mātauranga, language, research priorities, and methodologies.

Supported by the Kāhui Māori, both the Director Māori and Kaihautū work to ensure the Challenge operates in accordance with the VM principles set out in the Challenge’s Collaboration Agreement. They also ensure coherence across the Challenge, provide a pathway to building VM expertise among the Programme Leaders and other senior staff, and lead Māori-centred research.

Our Kāhui Māori serves as a strategic conduit to engage with iwi, hapū and Māori organisations on the Challenge as a whole, plus provide input on Māori research priorities and delivery of outcomes.

The Challenge provides a vehicle to strengthen Māori influence on science strategies, including:

- providing advice and direction for Biosecurity 2025

- providing input into the Ministry for Primary Industry’s review of kauri dieback

- seed-funding and on-going involvement with award-winning Te Tira Whakamātaki (Māori Biosecurity Network)

- sponsorship of SING Aotearoa

- participation in Te Mana Raraunga Māori Data Sovereignty Network

- taking part in the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Ao Māori measures hui.

Restoring ecosystems often requires a kaupapa Māori approach to ensure appropriate assessment and management of biological heritage.

Challenge projects that include Mātauranga Māori

- Involvement of Māori knowledge-holders in restoration projects. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are shaping research priorities of mana whenua (territorial rights) in work that’s focused on the restoration of inanga (whitebait) and black swan egg harvests. The first project is taking a biocultural approach to restoring Aotearoa’s biodiversity, while the second is working to predict and prevent ecosystem decline. Research is driven by the aspirations of Ngāi Tahu mana whenua around customary management of taonga

- Inclusion of cultural forest health indicators as part of data collected by citizens treating their trees to manage kauri dieback.

- Invaluable guidance provided by Matua Kevin Prime to a project aiming to stop kauri dieback in its tracks. The team consulted Matua Kevin to explore the whakapapa of kauri and develop a shortlist of plant extracts to test for attracting or repelling the pathogen.

Co-innovation with Māori

Examples of partnerships include:

- Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga working with a team investigating the adaptive variation in threatened species – using genomics to build species resilience in declining mahinga kai (food-gathering places).

- Two culturally significant locations were selected for sampling kōwaro and kēkēwai to generate reference genomes, and kēkēwai sampled using traditional methods

- Te Arawa Lakes Trust involved in the co-design of work that’s aiming to build resilience in freshwater taonga species kākahi (freshwater mussels). Collection of mussels is done with Te Arawa school students and their whanau, helping restore cultural connections between hapū and this taonga species.

To ensure that Māori researchers and/or iwi, hapū and whānau are embedded in the Challenge, all future investments must demonstrate at least a three on the Vision Mātauranga Classification scale.

  1. Research with no specific Māori component: science-based project with no mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) used. Māori are not associated with the research process (e.g. not on any research management/advisory/governance panels, it is not inclusive of Māori land or institutions, nor the subject of any component of the research). Work may be of general interest to Māori, though no more so than to any other end users or stakeholders.
  2. Research specifically relevant to Māori: science-based project of specific relevance to Māori as end users and stakeholders. Māori are not typically involved in the research. Mātauranga Māori and values may be used in a minor way to guide the work and its relevance to Māori. Can include work that contributes to Māori aspirations and outcomes.
  3. Research involving Māori: science-based project where mātauranga Māori (about 20–50%) may be collected and incorporated in the project, but not central to the project. Research is specifically and directly relevant to Māori as end users and stakeholders. Māori are involved in the design and/or undertaking of the research (e.g. as research participants; on management/advisory/governance panels; as co-producers, partners, co-funders). The work typically contributes to Māori (e.g. iwi/hapū, organisations) aspirations and outcomes.
  4. Māori-centred research: Māori-led project, where a large amount of mātauranga Māori is used and understood (about 50%+) and combined with science (e.g. through frameworks, models, methods, tools etc.). Kaupapa Māori research is a key focus of the project. Māori are primary end-users/supporters of the work. Research is typically collaborative or consultative, with direct input from Māori groups. Commonly a collaboration with Māori researchers or researchers under the guidance/mentoring of Māori. Typically contributes to Māori (e.g. iwi/hapū, organisations) aspirations and outcomes.
  5. Kaupapa Māori research: Mātauranga Māori (about 80%+) is incorporated, used, and understood as a central focus of project and its findings. Research is grounded in te ao Māori (the Māori world view) and connected to Māori philosophies and principles. Research typically uses kaupapa Māori research methodologies. Reference for Kaupapa Māori: Smith LT 2012. Decolonising methodologies: research and indigenous peoples. 2nd ed. London and New York. Zed Books. Tē reo Māori is often a central feature to this kaupapa or research activity, and key researchers have medium to high cultural fluency or knowledge of tikanga and reo. Generally led by a Māori researcher, however, non-indigenous researchers may carry out research under the guidance/mentoring of a Māori researcher. Māori participation (iwi/hapū/marae/individual) is high. The work contributes strongly to Māori (e.g. iwi/hapū, organisations) aspirations and outcomes and positively addresses Māori issues.