Te Tira Whakamātaki Maori Biosecurity Network

  • Māori Biosecurity Network logo.

    Māori Biosecurity Network logo.

Te Tira Whakamātaki (TTW), the Māori Biosecurity Network is a network of Māori scientists (plant pathologists, soil chemists, biosecurity officers, indigenous sociologists), policy makers, politicians, kaitiaki, iwi leaders and whānau who are dedicated to ensuring Māori have a voice and are able to participate in NZ's biosecurity system, and whom provide technical biosecurity support and advocacy to whānau, hapū and iwi.

TTW aim is to protect our taonga for future generations. The project will explore how Māori knowledge, interests and values can be embedded in New Zealand’s biosecurity system.

TTW, whose name means ‘the watchful (vigilant) ones’, was established to:

  • Ensure Māori have a voice in New Zealand's Biosecurity systems and Government Industry Agreements (GIA).
    Kia whai wāhi te tirohanga Māori ki ngā whakahāere tiaki-koiora o Aotearoa me te whakaaetanga ahumahi a te Kawanatanga (GIA).
  • Guard biosecurity processes to ensure the Māori voice is being heard, and Māori are being included.
    He tautiaki i ngā tukanga tiaki-koiora, kia whai wāhi te tirohanga Māori, otirā a ngāi Māori whānui.
  • Provide or solicit biosecurity research that includes Māori perspectives and solutions, and advocate the effects of biosecurity threats and policy on Māori social policy, political strategy, economic interests, technology, and culture.
    Kia tuku, kia tono i mātanga kē atu rānei - ngā rangahau tiaki-koiora mai te tirohanga Māori, mai te ara whakatikatika a te Māori. He waha i ngā pānga whakawehiwehi tiaki-koiora me ngā kaupapa here, ki ngā kaupapa here pāpori Māori, rautaki tōrangapū, whāinga ōhanga, hangarau me te ahurea.

Importantly, TTW is Māori-led, not agency-led.

New Zealand’s growing international trade and tourism, and our changing climate are all likely to increase the risks of new pests or diseases establishing here.

Māori are the largest landowners in New Zealand and their efforts and involvement are vital for building a sustainable future for New Zealand’s agriculture and economy.

While biosecurity incursions are a threat to New Zealand agribusiness, they also threaten culturally significant native species and the ecosystems they support. Kauri are being killed by a fungus-like disease thought to have been introduced from overseas, and mānuka, kānuka and pōhutukawa are all at risk from myrtle rust fungus, which has been devastating forests in Australia.

TTW aligns closely with the Government’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho and has support from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, which aims to grow skills and capacity in science and innovation, while supporting outcomes that benefit Māori and New Zealand.

Te Tira Whakamātaki (TTW) – the Māori Biosecurity Network – was established in 2015 to help understand how Māori knowledge, interests and values can be embedded in New Zealand’s biosecurity system. The Network was initially funded by a Vision Mātauranga grant from the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) with co-funding from the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and support from the Bio-Protection Research Centre.

Lincoln University lecturer Dr Amanda Black (Tūhoe, Whakatōhea) was awarded seed funding for Te Turi Whakamātaki from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (NPM), a Centre of Research Excellence hosted at the University of Auckland.

The Network is actively involved in multiple research programmes including:

  • Protecting New Zealand’s primary sector from plant pests (Scion-led, MBIE-funded).
  • A passive surveillance network protects New Zealand’s Biological Heritage from biosecurity threats (Scion-led, Biological Heritage National Science Challenge-funded).
  • Te Tira Whakamātaki – Māori biosecurity, protecting our taonga for future generations (Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga-funded).
  • Reindigenising the Biosecurity System (Marsden Fund).
  • Myrtle rust: a significant threat to Australasia and the Pacific (MBIE Catalyst Fund).
Māori solutions to biosecurity threats and incursions to taonga species (Patua riha rāwaho)

How do we incorporate mātauranga Māori with contemporary methods to improve pre border biosecurity risk assessment, surveillance of…

Myrtle Rust

Protecting New Zealand’s biological heritage via Māori-led preparedness that incorporates Māori innovation and knowledge with traditional science scholarship…

Interim Executive

Our Interim Executive members are: Glenice Paine (Chair), Dr Nick Waipara, Dr Amanda Black, Waitangi Wood, Alby Marsh,…

As kaitiaki, Māori are and have been for a very long time acutely aware of the interactions between the various plant and insect systems. We now need to understand how changes in our climate and trade will affect these systems and our role as protectors.

Whats new

The Project NZ feature a story on stink bugs
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt talks stink bugs on The Project

9 March 2018 - Whats new

Watch Melanie Mark-Shadbolt talk to the Project NZ team about the impact the Brown marmorated stink bug would…

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug – Expert Q&A

6 March 2018 - Whats new

A Q&A, prepared by the Science Media Centre, on the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug with biosecurity experts including…

Myrtle rust. Image - Louise Morin, CSIRO
Media Release: MPI's failure will cost us our forests

28 February 2018 - Whats new

Te Tira Whakamātaki, the Māori Biosecurity Network has criticised the Government in its failings to uphold its Treaty…

Māori biosecurity award winners: Te Tira Whakamātaki ( Māori Biosecurity Network).
New Zealand Biosecurity Awards 2017

2 August 2017 - Whats new

Congratulations to the Te Tira Whakamātaki ( Māori Biosecurity Network) team — winners of the Māori biosecurity award…

Video presentation
CrazyAmbitious Presentation

19 July 2017 - Whats new

This kōrero discusses network activities, research priorities and future plans, as well as engagement methods for working with…

Myrtle rust. Image - Louise Morin, CSIRO
Māori scientists lead effort to combat plant pathogen

4 April 2017 - Whats new

The recent finding of myrtle rust on Raoul Island pōhutukawa trees marks a significant and very sad milestone…

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt and Amanda Black with the Dave Galloway Award.
Innovation Award for Māori Biosecurity Network Team

26 September 2016 - Whats new

Te Turi Whakamātaki has been awarded the inaugural Dave Galloway Innovation Award by the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute.…

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt
Social licence workshop

11 July 2016 - Whats new

Social licence to operate is an important issue for scientists in the biological heritage area. Think 1080, sprays to…