Research

  • One of New Zealand's best-known kauri trees, Tane Mahuta.

    One of New Zealand's best-known kauri trees, Tane Mahuta.

Stopping kauri dieback in its tracks Dr Monica Gerth, Victoria University

Phytophthora agathidicida is the causative agent of kauri dieback disease. This project aims to combine a biochemical approach with Mātauranga Māori in order to identify chemical signals from native plants that naturally attract or repel P. agathidicida zoospores. The team also aims to test the effect of these potentially chemotaxis-disrupting chemicals on the spread of zoospores through soil. The project will clarify how the pathogen uses chemotaxis to spread through the environment, locate kauri trees and initiate infection. It will lead to new approaches for mitigating spread and ultimately protecting iconic kauri.

Citizens combating kauri dieback Dr Ian Horner, Plant & Food Research

This project is a collaboration between social and biophysical scientists, community leaders, iwi/hapū and landowners. The aim is to broaden the suite of practical control tools available for kauri dieback, and to provide information to landowners to help them treat their own trees. In the process, citizen scientists collect information and feed it back to the research team. The team aims to foster community awareness about kauri dieback and to provide communities with a sense of hope that they can do something positive to combat the disease.

Māori biosecurity solutions (Myrtle rust) Drs Nick Waipara and Alby Marsh, Plant & Food Research

Māori have developed practices and methods such as the use of ritenga (customs, laws, and protocols) and whakapapa (species assemblages within a holistic ecosystem paradigm) to mitigate risks and threats to both endemic biodiversity and primary production systems from pests, weeds and pathogens. However, the 21st century has seen a rapid increase in species introductions to New Zealand, with dramatic consequences for both Māori livelihoods and cultural integrity. This project is focusing on one case study highly relevant to Māori cultural integrity. It will demonstrate the biodiversity benefit from a functional hapū/iwi-specific response, which includes mātauranga approaches, to biosecurity risks and threats. As a consequence, hapū, iwi, and Māori organisations and researchers alike will be challenged to draw on both traditional and contemporary sources of knowledge to achieve transformational, Māori-led outcomes for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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