Student profile: Lucy Kaiser



Investigating tangata whenua views
and responses to climate change




Lucy at Rangiauria (Pitt Island), Wharekauri (Chatham Islands)

Ko Tākitimu te māunga

Ko Aparima te awa

Ko Te Ara a Kiwa te moana

Ko Ngāi Tahu te iwi

Ko Takutai o te tītī te marae

No Ōtautahi ahau

Ko Lucy Kaiser ahau


I am currently in my first year of my PhD in Emergency Management at Massey University’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research. While I grew up in Ōtautahi (Christchurch), I whakapapa to the Ōraka-Aparima area of Murihiku (Southland). In the 1930s, my great-great-uncle Eruera Poko Cameron collected the local stories and correct kupu for important places in the rohe from kaumātua, and my great-grandmother’s whānaunga Ulva Belsham’s research on waiata and whakapapa is a precious resource on Kai Tahu Māori language in the south. I like to think that the same passion for the stories and history of our people and for the whenua and moana runs through my whakapapa to me.

My background is in sociology and indigenous disaster management. I conducted my BA in sociology at the University of Otago and with the support of a Fulbright Award I completed a Masters in Sociology of Disasters at Colorado State University researching tribal disaster mitigation plans in the United States. This was an amazing opportunity to see some of the fantastic work that was been done by indigenous tribes internationally in the disaster management space.

Receiving a PhD scholarship from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Mātauranga Māori programme and support from the EQC Mātauranga Māori Disaster Risk Reduction Research Centre has allowed me the opportunity to further explore my interest in indigenous disaster management, particularly regarding climate change, from a Te Ao Māori perspective.


Lucy at Teotihuacan, Mexico

My project

Climate change-related events such as sea level rise, ex-tropical cyclones, and severe storms (for example, the February 2020 Southland floods) have added to the complex environment in the Murihiku region, and adversely impacted tangata whenua, physically, culturally, economically and spiritually. Iwi, hapū and marae frameworks such as Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku’s Te Tangi a Tauira environmental management plan (2008) and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu’s ‘He Rautaki Mō Te Huringa o te Āhuarangi’ climate change strategy (2018) take into account these climate change-related impacts and provide mechanisms for preparing, mitigating and responding to them.

This research will draw from kaupapa Māori methodologies and western European science to explore climate change issues that are impacting tangata whenua as well as the effectiveness and relationships between mātauranga Māori, iwi/rūnanga management plans and national and regional planning strategies/practices for mitigating climate changes in Aotearoa.


Apirama in Murihiku (Southland)

Next steps

My next steps will be connecting kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) with whānau down south to share information and collaboratively develop an appropriate research plan addressing the community’s aspirations and interests in relation to climate change and disaster management and planning.  There is a wealth of knowledge held by our kaumātua who have observed and responded to the impacts of climate change on our coastal marae and wāhi tapu sites and to taonga species such as tītī (mutton birds) that I would be privileged to learn from. I have been very grateful of the generosity and manaaki that I have received in the initial stages of this work and it is my hope to deliver research that will be meaningful for the Murihiku community’s climate change adaptation work in the future.



Q & A with Dr Acushla Dee Sciascia



Q. Tēnā koe Dee. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your iwi affiliations?

He uri ahau nō ngā kāwai whakapapa o Ngāruahine Rangi, Ngāti Ruanui and Te Atiawa.

Q. How did you get into social science research? Did you always want to be a researcher?

My ancestors are prolific researchers, so it was very natural for me to follow in their footsteps and continue the art of inquiry in the hope to seek out answers and revelations. I’ve always been interested in culture and people and with these two things come the responsibility to deepen and broaden one’s knowledge and understanding in these spaces to bring about change and transformation.

Q. What was your PhD on, and what were your major findings?

I wrote my PhD about Facebook and the rise of technological online and social media platforms pervading Māori society and culture. The research showed that, like our tūpuna, Māori have quickly adopted and adapted to the increase of social media use for a range of reasons. We use social media for whanaungatanga (to build and maintain relationships), for identity construction and (re)connection to culture, language and practices and we more recently are practicing our culture in online social spaces such as tangihanga (funerals). While all of these things we are doing are helping us to connect (on varying levels), the importance of being physically present and face to face represents challenges for further disconnecting our people. 

Q. We recently marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. In your opinion what do we need to do to enable more young wāhine Māori to take up science and research?

We need more Wāhine Māori leadership roles. There is a prevalence of mostly Pākehā men who take up these spaces. Lets change this!

Q. You’re co-leading the Mātauranga Māori theme for Phase 2 of the Challenge. What drew you to working on the Challenge?

Mātauranga Māori is one of the corner stones of Te Ao Māori; everything we do, who we are, where we come from are told in the narratives, histories and oral traditions of our mātauranga. To lift this knowledge system in the field of western sciences is to ensure that our knowledges are given the credibility and mana they deserve. This is what attracted me to the role – the opportunity to play a part in this shift.

Q. What can western natural hazard research gain from incorporating Māori values, tikanga and knowledge?

If we were to return to indigenous ways of knowing and being, we would find that solutions to a lot of environmental issues could be approached though an indigenous lens. The same is to be said for natural hazard research – through a kaupapa Māori approach, we can understand resilience to be not only about surviving but thriving in our diverse contexts and environments. 

Q. Through this programme, what resilience tools and innovations do you hope to be able to deliver for iwi, hapū and whānau?

My aspirations for our Māori communities is that we think differently and innovatively about how resilience to natural hazards – what opportunities can we take from better understanding our natural environment that speaks to our unique Māori ways of knowing and being. One area in particular I’m excited about is how we translate knowledges to speak most effectively to a diverse range of audiences whose lives are most affected by natural hazards (e.g., coastal Māori communities, marae, hapū and iwi). We need to think differently about how our research translates to a language and medium that speaks to the hearts and minds of these communities.

Q. You were recently part of the Government’s Climate Change Risk Assessment Panel. How was that experience?

It was a challenging space given that the expectation when being one of two Māori on a panel of 10 is that you represent all Māori aspirations and this simply is not the case. Despite this pressure, myself and fellow colleague Shaun Awatere were able to imbue a strong whakaaro Māori into the framework from the very outset. We worked extremely well with other panelists and despite the parameters of time and urgency, I am proud of what we achieved for the framework.

Q. What are your future aspirations?

To see impactful shifts where Mātauranga Māori and western sciences not only complement each other, but are co-dependant. 


Student profile: Hauiti Hakopa



He reo kōrero te pūrākau ki a Ngāti Tuwharetoa


Ko te tuhinga kairangi a Hauiti Hākopa he waihanga i te hohonu, i te ātaahua, i te māramatanga o te hono tātai o te pūrākau hāngai pū ki te whakapūmautanga o Ngāti Tūwharetoa.  Ka tātaritia, wetewetehia ngā hekenga mātauranga hohonu, uarā, tātai whakawhiti kōrero kai roto ake anō i ēnei kōrero pūrākau a Ngāti Tūwharetoa.  Ko aua hekenga kōrero whakaarorangi nei i ahu mai i te karamata, manawapū o ngā papa tipu whenua reo kōrero. Kai konei ka ora mai te mauri, te tuakiri, te tiketike tūahu whakapiringa, whakahāngai kōrero ki roto i tēnei tuhinga kairangi. Ko ngā pātaka, kete kōrero o tēnei tuhinga kairangi ka tūhono e puaki mai ai te tiketike o te reo kōrero ā-waha, ā-hinengaro, ā-ngākau whakawhiti whakaaro.  I konei ka whakaaria anō ētahi atu kōrero mai i ngā pukapuka kua tāia, ā, i ngā pukapuka kāre anō kia tāia kia au ai te rongo o te hohonu o te mātauranga haere ake nei ngā tau, hāngai ki te reo kōrero o te whenua matatū tonu.

Kai roto i ngā kōrero pūrākau a Ngāti Tūwharetoa te hohonu, taketake o ngā kōrero tīpuna hai āwhina i a tātau ki te whakatipu i ngā hohonu mātauranga kaiārahi, tūhonotanga mo nga tau kai mua i a tātau e puare ai te tatau hou ki ngā hangarau kawe i te reo ipurangi hononga ki ngā hangarau whakaora, whakatinana kōrero, whāingai i aua kōrero whakaheke ki ngā whakatipuranga hou o ngā tau tuangahuru haere ake nei ngā tau.   



Pūrākau and the sacred geographies of belonging



A bit about me 


Tēnā tatou. Ko taku taumata ko runga ko Tongariro. Mārama te titiro ki te ao o tōku tipuna a Tūwharetoa. Ko au tēnei e mihi ake rā ki te nui, me te rahi o Aotearoa me te Waipounamu.

I derive my whakapapa connections to the Taupō region from my eponymous ancestor Tūwharetoa and his sons. I was born and bred in the southern region of Taupō, in Tokaanu. My family were domiciled in Taupō throughout my school years until I left for University.


Taupō-nui-a-Tia, Lake Taupo. Photo © GNS Science


I graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Surveying, a Postgraduate Diploma in Science, a Master’s in Science and finally a Doctorate in Spatial Information Technology and its’ application to mōteatea. My abiding interest is in land and whakapapa thereof, cartography and the mapping of Māori connection and relationship to their ancestral landscapes.


My project


My 2019 doctorate from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi was supported by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. It is primarily focused on pūrākau and how Māori connect to their ancestral landscapes, what I termed as the sacred geographies of belonging. Moreover, it argues that identity, located in the ethos of tangata whenua, is the basis for resilience for Māori. Resilience for Māori had been described in terms of the relentless motion of the tide. The metaphor of the tōrea pango (black oyster-catcher) was used to describe the patience necessary to hold a steady course. It was necessary to converge three threads: one, identity located in sacred places; two, the tangata whenua ethos; and three, resilience located in identity.

The primary aim of this research was to define/find/illustrate the explicit link between identity and ancestral landscapes and vice-versa; but more than that, it was to discover how each of these concepts interact and influence the other.


There were three primary objectives:

  1. To examine the esoteric knowledge and wisdom of Ngāti Tūwharetoa pūrākau and its’ impact and influence on shaping how we think about cultural identity embedded in ancestral landscapes.
  2. To critically examine the tangata whenua ethos and the connection between identity, resilience and its’ relevance for Māori in the digital era.
  3. To critically examine converging modern technology with pūrākau as a platform for disseminating cultural content

The research questions were focused on the following:

  1. What are the critical elements of cultural identity layered within Ngāti Tūwharetoa pūrākau that provide guidance for connecting with the tangata whenua ethos?
  2. What is the value of the tangata whenua ethos today in the digital era?
  3. How can modern technology provide a gateway for Māori to develop a relationship with ancestral landscapes?


The research revealed the following insights:

One, it provides evidence that Mātauranga Māori is of the highest form of academic scholarship;

Two, it unpacks the vitality, essence and meaning of pūrākau and positions it as a knowledge system within the traditional sense of Mātauranga;

Three, it positions pūrākau as an appropriate traditional framework for examining tribal cultural identity located in sacred sites steeped in whakapapa;

Four, it unravels the key messages contained in Tūwharetoa pūrākau, the intimate link to ancestors found therein and provides a way for tangata whenua to develop resilience;

Five, it advances the concept that sacred geographies (significant sites that contain the vitality of ancestral footprints) are a reservoir of accumulated ancestral strength essential for maintaining the vitality and ethos of tangata whenua;

Six, it outlines a process for Māori who live remotely from their homelands around the world to develop a relationship with their sacred ancestral geographies using pūrākau.


Finally, I used the whakatauākī from one ancestor Tamamutu to frame the approach to the research. The compelling parts of the whakatauākī refers to: kia ata whakatere I te waka nei – to take care when making decisions, and “ka whakahoki atu ki te kapua whakapipi”, the clouds the travel the southern parts of Lake Taupō and for Tūwharetoa to always remember that our reservoir of strength resides in the Taupō ancestral landscapes.


Next steps


I am currently exploring a number of avenues to extend the doctoral research, one is to pursue post-doctoral research within the Resilience Challenge theme.

Reclaiming Māori oral histories to understand tsunami hazard and history



Kei roto i ngā kōrero tuku iho ā-waha a te Māori e takoto ana ētahi kōrero nunui mo ngā ākitanga mai o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui o Aotearoa. I heke mai ēnei kōrero i ngā wāhi katoa ā-kōrero, ā-pakeke whakakitenga, e whakaara mai ana i ngā āhuatanga i taupokina ai te whenua e ēnei momo ngāru taupoki nunui hai tohu i a tātau kia āta manaaki, waihanga i te taiao i nāianei, hai ngā tau e heke mai nei kei whīua tātau e ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino nei.

Ko ngā kairangahau o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori kua tīmata ki te rangahau i aua korero tuku iho nei tapaia nei He Kōrero Whakataratara, kia hererea ngā kōrero tuku iho nei mo ēnei āhuatanga o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino o Aotearoa i tau atu ki runga o Rangitoto motu (D’Urville Island). Ko aua momo kōrero, He Kōrero Whakataratara The Rival Wizards he mea tuhituhi, i whakapukapukatia i te tau 1907 e te Pākehā nei a Alfred Grace (1867 to 1942), he kairangahau kohikohinga kōrero ia.

Kei roto i te kōrero nei He Kōrero Whakataratara; nā Te Pou he rangatira o taua wā i whakaara i tono kia ākina, kia whīua a Titipa tana hoariri e ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino nei he kore no Titipa e aro nui atu ki ngā whakahau a Te Pou. Ko ēnei ngaru taupoki nunui kino e kōrerotia ana e tukituki ana i ngā tātahi, onepū kia pākarukaru, pakaru katoa te whenua.  E ai ki ngā kairangahau ko ngā momo kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui nei, ōrite tonu ki ngā kōrero, ngā whakamārama o ngā ngaru taupoki nunui e kitea ana i ēnei rā e te hunga i waimarie te ora mōrehu mai i aua ngaru taupoki nunui kikino nei.


The northern coast of D’Urville Island where ongoing work alongside Ngati Koata and Ngati Kuia will take place over the months ahead. Photo: Dr. Emily Lane

Hai whakatinana i ēnei momo kōrero, whakakitenga ka whakaritea e ngā kairangahau kia uiuitia kia 20 tāngata o Ngāti Koata me Ngāti Kuia he hono o ēnei iwi ki te pito tokerau o Te Wai Pounamu kai reira nei te motu o Rangitoto. I roto i ngā uiui nei ko te mea nui i whāia e ngā kairangahau kia mau ki te kōrero o taua ngaru taupoki nunui, kia kaua e tirohia pēnei i tā te kōrero pūrākau whakakitenga. I āta rangahautia e ngā kairangahau kia pono te takoto mai o te kōrero, kia wherawhera tikahia aua kōrero kia kaua e noho hai kōrero whakawhitiwhiti pūrākau tōna whakaritenga, kia mau ko te ia tika o te kōrero pono.

Ko ngā tāngata o Ngāti Koata me Ngāti Kuia i uiuitia he mea tuku atu he tuhinga o te Kōrero Whakataratara The Rival Wizards i mua i te uiuitanga, haere nei te rangahau ko ia tangata i uiuitia, e kī tonu ana kāore rātau i kite i tēnei tuhinga Kōrero Whakataratara i mua i te whakahaeretanga o te uiui rangahau nei. Ahakoa anō tēnei i te mārama ngā tāngata i uiuitia ki ngā āhuatanga whakatakoto, whakahau kōrero o te ia o ēnei momo Kōrero Whakataratara. Āua atu e mōhiotia ana a Karepa Te Whetu nāna i tuku, i kōrero atu tēnei kōrero ki a Alfred Grace.  Whakaae katoa ngā tāngata i uiuitia ko Karepa Te Whetu e noho ana ki runga o te motu o Rangitoto (D’Urville Island) i taua wā ā, ko ia te tama mātāmua a Te Whetu, he rangatira nui a Te Whetu o taua wā o Ngāti Koata. Ko te nuinga o ngā tāngata i uiuitia i kī tonu iho kāre rātau i te mōhio mo te Kōrero Whakataratara o The Rival Wizards i te mea hoki kua matemate katoa ngā tāngata o taua whakatipuranga, ā, kua hūnuku rānei te hunga i pakeke mai ki runga i te motu o Rangitoto, ngaro atu hoki ki a rātau aua momo Kōrero Whakataratara.  Haunga anō ko te tino whakaritenga o tēnei rangahau e kī ana tērā kai roto i aua momo Kōrero Whakataratara ngā kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui tūkino o Aotearoa haere ake nei.  Me aro tonu ki aua momo kohinga kōrero kia mārama ai tātau i nāianei, kia noho tūpato, kia kaha te kairangahau ki te wherawhera i ngā kōrero mo aua ngaru taupoki nunui tūkino nei kia noho reri te hunga kei te taha moana e noho ana.  



Māori oral histories provide a rich source of understanding and information about past tsunamis in Aotearoa-New Zealand. They draw from multiple layers of experience and meaning, helping to recall the past as well as remind us about environmental risks in the present and future.

Researchers from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Mātauranga Māori programme have recently delved into a ‘folk tale’ called The Rival Wizards to explore the inclusion of Māori ancestral experience with tsunami(s) on Rangitoto (D’Urville Island). The Rival Wizards is one of a number of Māori ‘folk tales’ published in 1907 by the European ethnographer Alfred Grace (1867 – 1942). In the story [hereafter pūrākau], the ‘wizard-chief’, Te Pou, summoned three great waves to extract retribution on his rival Titipa for defying him. These great waves were described, including how they struck and scoured the shores. According to the researchers the descriptive language is similar to that used by modern-day tsunami survivors.

To affirm the inclusion of tsunami narratives within the pūrākau, researchers conducted interviews with 20 key informants from Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia. These informants hold deep connections with the top of the South Island (where Rangitoto is located). The researchers were careful to ensure their analysis focussed on emphasising the participant’s views, rather than the meaning they themselves brought to the research. They wanted to avoid subjecting the pūrākau to any external judgements and risk turning it into something it was not.

Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia interviewees were given a written copy of The Rival Wizards before their interview, and upon questioning each person revealed that they did not know the pūrākau prior to the study. However, the informants were familiar with many of the elements and storytelling devices contained in the pūrākau. There was also widespread awareness of Karepa Te Whetu who told the pūrākau to Alfred Grace. All informants agreed that Karepa Te Whetu lived on Rangitoto, and was the elder son of Te Whetu, a respected Ngāti Koata leader. Many of the informants considered that the reason they did not specifically know about The Rival Wizards was due to whānau having passed on or moving away from the island, taking many of their stories with them.

Informants from both Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia spoke at length about the likelihood that the pūrākau derived from Rangitoto. The names and descriptions of locations were considered as well as common references to incantation and shapeshifting which were regarded as highly relevant to any claims of the narrative coming from the northern South Island. Further still, most of the Ngāti Kuia informants recognised the names of the main characters in the pūrākau, such as Rongomai, Te Pou and Titipa. One respondent said that Te Pou was his father’s middle name, and that “every Peter is a Pou” in Ngati Kuia.

At the end of The Rival Wizards Te Pou calls forth three catastrophic waves, which almost all informants agreed most likely referred to direct experience with one or multiple past tsunamis. However, they did not know exactly where or when this happened. Thinking about the great waves described in the pūrākau also led several of the informants to note similarities with another pūrākau from Moawhitu (Greville Harbour) on the western side of Rangitoto. In this alternative narrative, a tsunami possibly occurring in the 1400s or 1500s drowned nearly everyone living in the area, and their bodies now lie in the surrounding sand dunes. This catastrophic inundation may be the same one described in The Rival Wizards.

By working directly with Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia it is clear that there is a deep familiarity with the different elements of The Rival Wizards, including knowledge of a past tsunami (and possibly multiple events) on and surrounding Rangitoto. The importance of taking such stories ‘home’ to the community and family groups where they were originally told was also made clear through this research. It emphasises not only the critical role of whakapapa [ancestral lineage, genealogy] in framing and comprehending the context of such narratives, but it also recognises the authority of kin groups such as Ngāti Koata and Ngāti Kuia, to reclaim and affirm their histories in their own words. This on-going work has the potential to contribute to the production of ‘new’ plural narratives about tsunami disturbance, recurrence and risk around Aotearoa-New Zealand’s coast.

To access the full research article please see:

Kura e Tai Āniwhaniwha: Tsunami risk reduction activities for kura in the Hawke’s Bay



Nā Lucy Carter

Ko ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori me ngā Kura Reo Rua, ngā Kura o Raro, Kura Tuatahi e piri pono ana ki te reo me ngā tikanga o te mārautanga ā-iwi o Aotearoa. I tipu mai, i whakaaratia ēnei Kura katoa hai whakapakari, whakaora, whakatinana i te reo me ōna tikanga hāngai ki taua takiwā, rohe me ngā hekenga mārautanga mātauranga katoa. Kia tipu kaha ai te tamaiti, kia ora ai tōna reo hāngai tonu te mau o ēnei momo Kura ki ngā Kaupapa Māori me ōna uarā, mātauranga Māori me te here mai o ngā rauemi reo hai whakapakari i ngā mahi akoranga ki roto i ngā akomanga rūmaki reo, reo rua tae atu ki ngā Kura Auraki.

Koia te āhuatanga o ngā ākina haukore, tūkino kohinga mātauranga nei he mea nui kia aro tika, tūhono pono ki ngā Kura katoa o Aotearoa i te mea hoki ko to tātau motu, whenua o Aotearoa ka ākina a tōna wā ka karawhiua mai e aua ākina haukore tūkino nei.  Ko tētahi o ngā ākina haukore, tūkino nei ko ngā ngaru taupoki nunui kino ā, ko ngā whenua kai raro i ngā matapaki pātata ki te moana me whakatūpato ko ērā whenua piri ki te tātahi, onepū kei te taha Rāwhiti o Te Ika a Māui hāngai tonu atu ki Hikurangi Rārangi Whakaputa.  I te mea he hāhaka, he tere te whiu kino mai a te ngaru taupoki nunui kino kia noho reri, tūpato ngā hāpori katoa mo ēnei whakawhiu kikino o te ngaru taupoki nunui.


Napier foreshore. Photo © GNS Science

He mea tika hoki kia mōhio, mārama pai ngā tamariki ngongohi me o rātau whānau katoa, kia akohia e rātau me pēhea te whakatūpato i a rātau ki ēnei whiu kikino o te ngaru taupoki nunui kikino, tae atu ki te whakamōhio atu i ngā mātua o aua tamariki ngongohi. He nui te mōhio, te mārama o te iwi Māori mo o rātau ake rohe me ngā kōrero tuku iho hāngai ki te whenua, hāngai ki te takoto o te whenua piri pono ki ngā tātahi, onepu moana, ā, koia hoki kāre ēnei momo mātauranga a te Māori i te tino arotia e ngā māngai mātauranga o Aotearoa me te hunga hanga rauemi reo kōrero.

Ko ngā kairangahau mai i nga Hononga Pokapū o Rūwhenua Kairangahau, o Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa me Te Tairāwhiti Kāinga Rangahau (LAB) kei Ahuriri he mea tuku he pūtea kia rātau e Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa hono ki te mātauranga Māori kia aro rātau, kia mahi tahi, ā, me hanga he kete rauemi hai whakatūpato mo te āhuatanga o te ngaru taupoki nunui kino mo ngā kura kei Ahuriri, ō aua rohe ngaru taupoki nunui nei. Kei konei ka ara ake ngā taumata mātauranga Māori, te reo me ngā tikanga hai whakanui, whakakaha ake i ngā mahi whakatūpato ki ngā momo rauemi mātauranga ka whakamahia, kia hāngai ki ngā hāpori ake o taua takiwā mā ngā tauira o aua Kura nei me o rātau hāpori haere ake nei ngā tau.



Kura Kaupapa Māori (kura) and bilingual schools are primary schools which operate fully or partially under Māori custom and have curricula developed to include te reo Māori. These schools were established to empower tamariki and ensure Māori language and culture are a significant influence in their education. To ensure Māori students are supported in their ability to flourish culturally it is important to respect the place of Māori kaupapa values, mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and te reo in the resources developed for kura, bilingual and mainstream schools.

This is the case with natural hazard education, which is particularly important in Aotearoa New Zealand as a country vulnerable to a wide range of hazards. One of these is tsunami, which is of especially high risk in coastlines on the East Coast of the North Island along which the Hikurangi Subduction Zone lies. Because of the risk of near-source tsunami (which can reach land with a very small warning period) all sectors of the community must be prepared for a tsunami event.  It is important that children are reached out to, not only due to their valuable role as information providers about hazards within their families, but to empower them to become disaster resilient and aware adults. Māori have an extensive knowledge of their local rohe and the history of hazards (both from the whenua and from the moana) which is often not appropriately recognised within mainstream hazard education resources. Researchers from the Joint Centre for Earthquake Research, Massey University and East Coast LAB in Napier have been funded by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges contestable funding to collaboratively develop a kete (tool kit) of tsunami risk reduction activities for kura and schools located in Hawke’s Bay’s tsunami evacuation zones. This will provide an opportunity for Māori knowledge, te reo and tikanga to inform culturally appropriate hazard education activates that are culturally and locally relevant for the students and the kura and school communities.


Before developing these activities the researchers wanted to find out what would be most useful for the kura and school communities. To do this they held hui with kura and school staff to provide specific information about tsunami risk in their community, to shed light on what teachers already know about tsunami risk, and find out what activities and knowledge they would find most useful for their students. Cross-cohort mentorship is a pathway for educating children in a child-centric disaster risk reduction model. This pilot project will be working with high school aged students over a course of a few weeks to develop tsunami education activities which will then be run with primary school-aged students. By following a student mentorship model, students will be able to take ownership of the resources they develop and the responsibility of running the activities with younger students may help reinforce the importance of tsunami preparedness.

Once the activities have been carried out, the researchers will evaluate the process to find out what aspects of the process and activity worked, as well as to identify challenges. Evaluation might be carried out through another hui, or surveys of and interviews with participants, or a combination of these. The research findings and a summary of the project will then be drafted into a research note for publication, with participants having the opportunity to give feedback before this was submitted.

The foundation of this research will be the partnership between the Māori-led research team and the school communities. This means that the activities will be designed by and for Māori, address Māori concerns, and be implemented in accordance with Māori values, research practices and health models. Participants, stakeholders and the researchers will also collaborate in identifying potential issues and opportunities throughout the research process.


Mahia Peninsula, Hawke’s Bay. Photo © GNS Science

The role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary mōteatea


Nā Taiarahia Black

Te tātari, te rangahau i te here kaha o te reo me ōna mātauranga tiketike ki roto i ngā kohikohinga kōrero tahito, o ēnei rā hoki hai āwhina i te whānau, hapū, iwi kia tūhono me o rātau ake mātauranga mo te ngaro o te whenua, tae atu ki ngā au tuki, au here, au tanuku o aua whenua ki roto i ngā āhuatanga o te taiao whakaritenga.

I roto i ngā tau mutunga kore nei 100 -160, āua atu aua tau tūkino e kūtia ana, e pēhia ana te ora, te whakakapari o te reo ki roto tahi i te iwi Māori me te Pākehā.  Ā, ngaro kau atu te reo mai i tēnā whakatipuranga, i tēnā whakatipuranga.  Whakaheke tēnei āhuatanga o te ngaro o te reo ki ngā whānau, hapū me ngā iwi.  Ka ngaro rā te reo, ka ngaro ngā tikanga, ngā uarā me ngā here o ngā huhua mātauranga hohonu, mātauranga pupuri i ngā korero o te iwi, me te whenua.  Huhua mātauranga whakawhitiwhiti, tātari i te ora o te reo piripono ki ngā korero tuku iho mo takoto o te whenua mo ngā au heke, au tuki, au tanuku o te ākina mai o te whenua. 

He aha i pēnei ai te ngaro o te reo (1) i murua, i raupatutia ngā whenua ka whiua te iwi nō rātau ake aua whenua ki rāhaki, (2) ka whakakorea, whakangarotia atu te reo me ōna mātauranga hohonu katoa, (3) waihoki ka whakaeke mai ko ngā whakatanuku, waipuke nunui, papahoro ana ngā pari tahataha i roto i ngā tau tuangahuru nei.

Masters & Doctorate students at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, to whom Tai was presenting his latest Resilience reo publication

Hei aha tonu, i roto i ngā tekau tau hoki atu 30-40 tekau tau ka tipu kaha mai te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Kura, Kaupapa Māori, Mātauranga Māori, Pāpāho Māori; huri whānui noa e hikoi whakamua ana ngā taumata Māori o ngā aria matua whakapakari te reo whakaritenga; mātauranga, hauora, taha ohaoha, whakatipu, whakapakari, whakaora whenua, ngā mahi hangarau hou, mana motuhake, mahi rangahau pūtaiao hono tonu atu ki ngā ākina tūkino papa tipu whenua o te taiao. 

Ngā runga i tēnei huarahi hou, huarahi pakari ka tāea te rangahau i ngā kohinga korero o ngā hekenga tuku korero tūhono ki ngā iwi ma te mōteatea e whakatipu, e whakapakari ngā korero tūhono ki a Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tā Manuhiri.  Nui atu ngā korero kai roto i ngā mōteatea hai whakatipu, whakahoki mai i ngā rārangi aria matua mātauranga hohonu kia tipu kaha ai te whakawhiti, tatari hai tūhono atu ki te taiao, ki te pūtaiao me ōna here tikanga rangahau hāngai ki te ao Māori.  Mai i te tau 2016 kua oti i tēnei wāhanga o te reo rangahau Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori te whakapukapuka i ētahi rauemi o te reo hai ātamira nui i te reo ki tōna taumata tiketike.   Kua whakaputatia aua tuhituhi pukapuka nei ki ngā marae – wānanga- whānau, hapū me te iwi me ngā tauira reo ki Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

E whā ngā taumata o ēnei kohinga, tuhituhi pukapuka (1) te whakakao mai i ngā korero tahito o te mōteatea me ngā korero o nāianei e mau ai te mātauranga hai tuku ki ngā whānau, hapū me te iwi, (2) te whakatipu he mātauranga hou ki roto i ēnei mahi rangahau mōteatea, (3) te whakahoki mai, ki te whakapuaki i ētahi mātauranga hou kei roto i te mōteatea hāngai tonu ki ngā au tuki, au ngaro, au tanuku o te whenua.  Koia tēnei mahi a te reo rangahau a Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa he tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori e mau ai te ora, te mauri, te tuakiri, te tiketike kia manawa roa ēnei here katoa ki ngā whakatipuranga haere nei ngā tau.

Ko te whakaara mai o ngā pātai e toru, uiui rangahau o runga ake nei o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa tūhono ki te mātauranga Māori te taumata kei te tino whāia i nāianei ki roto i tēnei mahi rangahau, whakarite rauemi reo hai whakahoki mai te mauri ora o te reo ki te whānau, hapū, iwi me ngā mātauranga tūhono ki te whenua, au tuki, au ngaro, au tanauku o te taiao me here ki te ao pūtaiao hohonu whakawhiti kōrero.



The role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary mōteatea – narratives to support whānau, hapū and iwi engagement with their knowledge and scholarship, their whenua and the loss of whenua in natural hazard management.

In the last 100-160 years the diversity loss of te reo for Māori and Pākehā in Aotearoa New Zealand has affected intergenerational whānau, hapū and iwi reo experience, knowledge and scholarship. This has been caused by (1) historical removal from inherited land sources and depopulation, (2) deliberate suppression of languages and knowledge, (3) the occurrence of environmental hazards over the millennium.

In the last 3-4 decades Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Kura, Kaupapa Māori, Mātauranga Māori, tertiary institution universities and Wānanga ā-iwi, Māori multi-media and broadcasting have had coverage right across the broad spectrum of Māori world views; in te reo, education, health, economics, land development, and sovereignty issues. This has allowed opportunities created by technology, sciences, and environmental hazard issues to emerge exponentially. 

This new direction has allowed whānau, hapū and iwi in Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāi Tā Manuhiri to engage with the research through  traditional songs and other rich narratives sources. These forms of engagement have re-established the loss of responsive te reo critical theories, through critical pedagogical research methodologies.  As a product of this, the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges research platform has published eight te reo source tool kits, which support effective engagement with whānau, hapū and iwi.

These emerging critical te reo publications support  whānau, hapū and iwi engagement in 3 key areas: (1) accumulation and sharing of traditional and contemporary knowledge, (2) the creation of new knowledge, (3) restoring and unlocking new knowledge sources. 

This  Resilience Challenge te reo – research platform, titled ‘Investigating the role of te reo knowledge and scholarship in the compilation of traditional and contemporary narratives to support whānau, hapū and iwi engagement with their knowledge whenua and the loss of whenua in natural hazard management’, is based on 4 research aims:

  1. the compilation, retelling and refreshing of essential narrative-heritage sources connected to the people and the natural environment,
  2. the recovery of rich te reo literary expression and philosophy
  3. recapturing reo historical ‘truths’
  4. compiling reo knowledge that is connected to occurrence of environmental hazards over the millennium to advance the expression of Māori philosophy and knowledge in science and environmental hazards.

The research aims above point the Resilience Challenge te reo – research platform to a new te reo direction. New knowledge narratives, supported by the Mātauranga Framework presented below, will be integrated with digital publishing to engage with Māori language teachers – marae, whānau, hapū, and iwi across Aotearoa. It will also create te reo resilience teaching resources to give continuity and build-cultural te reo diversity around environmental hazards. 

Investigating the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management



Nā Dr Wendy Saunders me Lucy Carter

Ko ngā hotaka a-iwi kaupapa whakahaere he rautaki whakatakoto huarahi, whakaritenga nā te iwi, me te Rūnanga me te hapū me ōna māngai whakaritenga i whakarite (IMP).  Ka hangaia ēnei rautaki- hōtaka e whakahau ana i te motuhaka – rangatiratanga o te hapū me te iwi e whakaaratia ana a rātau tikanga hānga pū ki te āhuatanga o Kaitiakitanga.  Kei roto i tēnei hōtaka e whakaatu ana i ngā rawa o te papa tipu whenua o taua rohe. Ko ēnei whakaritenga hōtaka he rauemi nui, atāahua hai āta titiro kia whakatūpato ki ngā au kino, au uaua whakahaere ā, he honanga kei konei hāngai tonu ki te mātauranga Māori o te āhua o te whenua me ōna whakaritenga.  Engari i tēnei wā nei kāore i te kitea atu mēnā kai te aro anō ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe whakarite ki ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi, ā-Rūnanga e whakaritea nei.

Ko ngā kairangahau o Kia Manawaroa, Ngā Ākina Te Au Tūroa hononga piri tahi ki te mātauranga Māori e hiahia ana ki te whakatikatika ā, me tō rātau hiahia ngā kairangahau kia mōhiotia e pēheatia ana e ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe ngā hōtaka whakahaere a ngā iwi (IMPs) hai poupou nui mo ngā whakaeke mai o ngā raruraru ki ngā iwi, taiao whakahaere, ā, me pēhea hoki te whakamahi tika, pai i aua hōtaka ā-iwi nei. Kia whai whakaaro atu ki ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi kā tika.  Koia ka whakahaeretia tēnei rangahau mo aua hōtaka ā-iwi nei ki roto i te rohe o Te Waiariki i te mea hoki nui atu ngā tukina whenua, noho ngātahi o te maha o ngā uauatanga takoto mai o te hua tūkino whenua ki roto o Aotearoa nei ā, ko Te Waiariki tētahi o aua whenua nui te uaua piripono ki ngā momo tūkino o ngā nohanga whenua.


Whakatāne township, Waiariki. Photo © GNS Science

Kāre anō tētahi kairangahau kia āta waihanga, āta tātari i ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei kia whai wāhi atu ki ngā tukinga, ākina mai o Te Ao Tūroa e kitea ai te wāriu o ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi. Ko ngā whāinga o tēnei rangahau e whakakitea ai mehemea kai te piri pono ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe kia whai whakaaro rātau ki ngā hekenga kōrero, whakarārangi kōrero o ēnei hōtaka ā-iwi, Rūnanga hoki. Anei te kōrero a tētahi mema o te Kaunihera i muri tonu iho i te tūtaki, whakatinana tahi mai o ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei:

Ko ngā kōrero i puta mai mo ngā hōtaka ā-iwi nei, kitea atu ana me aro atu te Kaunihera ki ēnei whakaritenga hōtaka whakahaere me ōna ritenga pai katoa (Kaikōrero mai te Kaunihera Haratua 2018).

Ae kua takoto tēnei rangahau hai tātari i ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe kia aro rātau ki ngā whakaritenga hōtaka a ngā iwi, me ngā Rūnanga whakahaere o aua takiwā, ō aua rohe kia manaakitia te reo kōrero o te iwi.  



Iwi management plans (IMPs) are resource management plans prepared by an iwi, iwi authority, rūnanga or hapū. They are generally prepared as an expression of rangatiratanga to help iwi and hapū exercise their kaitiaki roles by identifying issues regarding the use of natural resources in their area. IMPs are a valuable strategic tool for natural hazard management, and provide a link between Mātauranga Māori and land use planning.  However, their potential influence and role within council planning processes is uncertain.

Researchers from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Mātauranga Māori programme wanted to help clear up some of this uncertainty and find out how IMPs were being used as a tool for natural hazard management, and what the opportunities are for their use. To do this, they carried out a case study of iwi management plans in  the Bay of Plenty region (which is susceptible to every natural hazard in New Zealand). 

GNS Science researchers Lucy Carter, Wendy Saunders and Diane Bradshaw waiting for the ferry to Matakana Island for their hui on the Matakana Rangiwaea Island Hapū Management Plan

No one has investigated the role or use of IMPs for managing natural hazards before, making this research novel. Findings will provide key insights into how iwi and councils value IMPs, and how internal council processes can change to take IMPs into account more often and effectively.  As a representative of council expressed after a meeting on their implementation of IMPs:

“the kōrero certainly provided and promoted further discussion and areas for us to consider regarding our iwi management plans and processes” [council representative, May 2018]

In total, 29 IMPs have been lodged with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. The researchers analysed 21 of these plans  to find out what they specified with regards to natural hazards, how they linked to other plans and policies, and what the consultation process was.  Of these 21 plans, only six included reference to natural hazards, to different degrees; some had specific and explicit information on natural hazard risks and climate change, while others were more general.  Based on the content of these six plans, four were analysed in more detail to ascertain to what degree natural hazards had been included.  In addition, regional and district plans (including emergency management plans) were assessed for how they acknowledged IMPs.

In light of these findings, researchers are now investigating  how well IMPs are being implemented, used, and valued through hui with iwi and councils, with research due to be completed by June 2019.

It is intended that this research will help to Increase  awareness of IMPs within councils, as well as providing new and/or improved processes and education that support and encourage the use of IMPs in all planning processes. It will also strive to see IMPs becoming more valued and supported as another method to manage natural hazards in Māori communities, and ensure that IMPs are valued, useful and used by consultants, consent applicants, and councils. It is hoped that the study will also help researchers to become more aware of the IMPs, and how the Mātauranga within the IMPs can inform their science direction and contribute to their outcomes.

To date two publications have been published:

Saunders, W.S.A., 2017: Setting the scene:  the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management.  GNS Science Report 2017/30, p34.

Saunders, W.S.A., 2017: Investigating the role of iwi management plans in natural hazard management: a case study from the Bay of Plenty region.  GNS Science Report 2017/50, p74.

In addition, the following publications are planned in the next 12 months:

  • Internationally peer reviewed journal article on the role indigenous knowledge in planning for natural hazards from a Māori world view perspective
  • Internationally peer reviewed journal article on the role indigenous knowledge in planning for natural hazards from a western governance perspective
  • Planning Quaterly article on the role and value of IMPs in natural hazard management (PQ is the planning magazine of the NZ Planning Institute)

Key stakeholders that have been involved in interviews to date are: Ngāti Raukawa; Ngāti Rangiwewehi; Ngāti Rangitihi; Matakana and Rangiwaea Islands iwi; South Waikato District Council; Waikato Regional Council; Rotorua District Council; Western Bay of Plenty District Council; and Tauranga City Council.  Interviews with Bay of Plenty Regional Council; Whakatāne District Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, and Kawearu District Council are planned.  In addition, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management, and Local Government NZ will be targeted as findings and recommendations are drafted.


Tauranga harbour. Photo © GNS Science

Student Profile: Jake Robinson



Nā Jake Robinson

Ko Ruapehu te Maunga

Ko Whanganui te Awa

Ko Atihaunui a Pāpārangi te iwi

Ko Te Pooti te Marae

Ko Jacob Robinson tōku ingoa


I whānau mai ahau a Jacob Robinson ki Raetihi pātata ki te maunga tipua nei a Ruapehu.  I Raetihi ka tipu taku hiahia ki ngā kōrero tūhono, whakaora o te taiao. Mai anō i āhau e tamariki ana ka tipu taku wairua, ngākau ki ngā pukenga nui o te taiao, ka hīkoitia e ahau te papa tipu whenua o ngā ngāhere i te pāmu a taku koroua me taku kuia. No te pahutanga o te maunga tapu nei a Ruapehu i aua tau 1995 – 1996 ka uru mai te wairua ki ahau kia whai ahau i te taha mātauranga taiao, pūtaiao.  I rongo, i kite ahau, tātau katoa o te motu whānui i te reo kōrero o Ruapehu i tōna pahutanga.  I konei ka tipu taku hiahia ki ngā kohinga kōrero mātauranga o te taiao, hono atu te pūtaiao. 

Whāia e rua ngā mahi i mahia e ahau ki te whakapakari i taku taha whai mahi.  Ā, 26 taku pakeke ka tīmata ahau ki te whai i ngā tohu mātauranga pūtaiao ki Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa (Massey University).  Ko te kaupapa i whāia e ahau ko te taha Pūtaiao hāngai ki a Papatūānuku.  Mutu pai, tutuki pai i ahau te tohu Paetahi hōnore e tuhi, e tātari ana ahau i ngā momo maringi pūpū tahi mai o te rangiora (lahar) ki te taha tonga-hauāuru taiāwhio o maunga Ruapehu whakaritenga.  I tēnei wā nei kei Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa ahau e whai ana i te Tohu Kairangi (PhD) e, rangahau ana i te momo maringi o te uku tapuae ki roto i te rohe, takiwā o Te Āti Hāunui-a-Pāpārangi.


Whanganui upper river

Te Kitenga Whānui o taku Kaupapa Rangahau

Ia tau haere ake nei, nui atu i te rua miriona tone o te uku, paru horoia mai ai mai i ngā awaawa katoa o Aotearoa, inā waipuke taua awa. Ā, horoia atu ana, maringi atu ana ēnei uku, paru ki roto i a Hinemoana. Raru kino ana ngā whakawhitinga puna wai Māori mai i aua hekenga nui o te paru, me ngā ao whānui hononga ki te ōranga taiao, tūhono atu ēnei tūkino kia kūitia te hāpai ora mai o te whenua. Ka ngaro atu te ora o te whenua, whai tonu mai ko ngā tāheke waipuke kaha, whakapukepuke e pēhi kino nei i ngā whenua o Whanganui me ngā whenua huri i te motu.   Mo o tātau hāpori he uarā nui o tātau roto-moana me ngā awaawa, ka pēhia kinotia mai e ngā marangai tūkino, waipuke nui e mau ai te taha ohaoha.  He mea tika kia aro tātau ki ēnei momo ōranga whenua, kia aro tonu ki te whakaora i te oneone motuhake ake.  Ki te ora te whenua ka kaha te noho tahi mai o te pūtea.   He mea tika hoki me rangahau tonu tātau ki ngā hurihanga nui o ēnei pēhitanga uku, oneone paru ki runga o te taiao e ara mai nei ēnei tauritenga kino, ā, kia whai tonu atu te whakaaro me pēhea rā e mōhio ai tātau ki ēnei hekenga tūāhae kino o te uku, paru o te oneone haere ake nei ngā tau ki o tātau whenua papai.

Ko taku kaupapa rangahau mo taku tohu kairangi he whai atu i ngā āhuatanga takoto, rere mai o ngā oneone pūpū kino nei ka āta matapaki i ngā huarahi puputu ai ngā paru, ngā oneone nei ki roto i te takiwā o Whanganui mai kore e kitea tētahi momo māramatanga o te purere, puputu o ēnei uku, paru ki roto i ngā iaia whai oranga tonutanga o te whenua.  Nā runga anō i te āhua o te takoto o te whenua, ngā toka hautū o te whenua nangahu o te takiwā here o Whanganui, ko ngā toi mataora ritenga o te whenua e whakamahia ana kua kaha ake te pākarukaru mai o te whenua, maringi, tau noa ki roto i te puna wai me ngā awaawa. Ko te hīkoi, me whai atu i aua haurahi uku, oneone nei he tikanga mo te wetewete, tātari i ngā oneone puputu nei, e raru ai te takoto pai o te oneone ake, te kite atu i te rerekētanga hāngai ki te āhua o te takoto mai o aua huarahi uku, oneone e rere mai nei. Kia mārama ki ēnei hekenga ka tīka ka whakauru mai hoki te kohinga kōrero mātauranga Māori hai whakatinana, whakatipu, whakakaha i taku rangahau. Kia mārama pai ki ēnei hekenga nui o te uku me te paru e kitea ai he huarahi hai tohu māramatanga me pēhea ta tātau piri pono, tiaki pū i to tātau whenua ātaahua.  



Developing sediment fingerprinting techniques for the Whanganui catchment


A bit about me 


Ko Ruapehu te Maunga

Ko Whanganui te Awa

Ko Atihaunui a Pāpārangi te iwi

Ko Te Pooti te Marae

Ko Jacob Robinson tōku ingoa


I was born in the small town of Raetihi where my passion for understanding the many processes in nature started.  I remember that from a very early age I was always exploring the bush on my grandparents’ farm.  However, it wasn’t until witnessing the 1995-1996 eruptions of Mt Ruapehu from our house that I first thought about pursuing a career in science.  After leaving secondary school, I began working at the Tangiwai sawmill as a boiler operator.  I then became a fisherman working off the Whanganui coast.  At 26 I started my academic journey at Massey University where I studied Earth Science and then went on to complete an honours degree that investigated the history of lahar deposits on the south-western ring plain of Mt Ruapehu.  I am currently at Massey University undertaking PhD research investigating sediment tracing in the Whanganui catchment.


Whanganui upper river

An overview of my project 


Every year more than 200 million tonnes of sediment washes down New Zealand’s rivers and into the sea.  This is not only having a devastating impact on many fresh water ecosystems, but is also a major concern regarding the loss of land productivity.  Land instability and flooding are two further challenges that continue to have increasingly negative impacts within the Whanganui area as well as other parts of the country.  As a society that highly values its lakes and rivers, is affected by frequent storms and flood events and where the economy relies heavily on soil fertility, it is important that we strive to understand the underlying natural processes causing these issues and strive to understand how these processes may change into the future.

My project aims to investigate sediment fingerprinting techniques within the Whanganui catchment in order to gain insight into the movement of sediment through the system.  Due to the inherent geological and geomorphological character of the Whanganui catchment, anthropogenic influences such as land use change have greatly exacerbated rates of erosion leading to increased suspended sediment entering streams and rivers.  Sediment fingerprinting is a tool for evaluating sediment provenance, capable of directly quantifying sediment supply through differentiating sediment sources based on inherent geochemical signatures.  Understanding the spatial origin and movement of suspended sediment is an important step in guiding sustainable management of the natural resources within the Whanganui catchment.

Another important component of my research is the incorporation of Mātauranga Māori.  More than a millennium of occupation has embedded the Whanganui River and surrounding environment deep into the collective consciousness of Whanganui iwi.  A substantial environmental knowledge base has accrued during this time and is contained in the forms of recitation of whakapapa, stories, proverbs, sayings, songs, cultural activities and tribal expressions.  Incorporating mātauranga pūtaiao into this research presents an opportunity to study the catchment with a unique Māori perspective using methods that adhere to mātauranga ā-iwi principles and values. This indigenous knowledge base can provide holistic traditional and contemporary insights into the physical and spiritual phenomenon operating within the Whanganui catchment and will be a key component in developing effective research tools for this project and management strategies for the future.


Erosion around Retaruke River after a storm in March 2018

Next steps 


Some of the key issues I hope to investigate with this research include enhancing our understanding of the spatial origin of sediment through investigating sub-catchment suspended sediment contributions over various time frames. I also want to develop techniques to analyse historical sediment flux regimes before and after arrival of Māori and European settlers using geochemical techniques on flood deposits.  The incorporation of Mātauranga Māori is unique in this field of research and will ensure that the outcomes are relevant to tangata whenua and the wider community.  To date, work in this area of research is very limited in the Whanganui catchment and within New Zealand.  New approaches will be explored to expand upon the current literature relating to sediment fingerprinting techniques and sediment movement using the Whanganui catchment as a case study.  After the completion of my research project, I hope to continue working in the Whanganui region with my iwi to achieve our aspirations as kaitiaki of the environment.