A Maori boy holding a fish by the beach

Developing innovations that enable Māori to participate as partners in marine management, provide for the practice of tikanga/Māori custom, and support economic growth


This project is examining the mātauranga (knowledge) associated with the marine environment by examining key Māori texts, and reviewing all historical archives, literature, reports, and legislation that highlights Māori perspectives of, and connection to, the sea and our waterways.

We are investigating how mātauranga and tikanga Māori (Māori knowledge and custom) and New Zealand's state laws can be applied to our marine estate so that they are mutually beneficial. In addition, we will explore how those laws could evolve to reflect the best values and concepts of both of our founding peoples.

This is New Zealand's first Māori-led  research using science methodology. It is co-designed, facilitated by Tiakina Te Taiao in partnership with Cawthron Institute. Our aim is to develop a culturally-relevant pathway to enable Māori to evaluate and contribute to ecosystem-based management (EBM) tools and processes, while supporting mana whenua iwi to practice kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

Whaia te Mana Māori Whakahaere Tōtika ki Tangaroa – in pursuit of Māori governance jurisdiction models over marine resources

Our aim in this project is to co-develop and produce research on 21st century Māori governance jurisdiction models, frameworks and best practices, to support EBM for our marine resources that is consistent with Māori tikanga (custom) and mātauranga (knowledge).

Latest news and updates

Eureka! Is ocean farming the future?

Jonathan Chan, from Auckland Grammar School, has won the Eureka Award Gold Scholarship sponsored by NIWA for the most innovative and creative science, technology and/or engineering solution that addresses issues at the core of the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

Cumulative effects project kicks off

Managing the cumulative effects from natural events and human activities is one of the most urgent and complex problems facing our coastal and marine ecosystems. The many agencies responsible for managing these spaces are working together to address this challenge.

Article in Seafood NZ magazine

The latest issue has a feature about our research, what it means for fishing and aquaculture, the diverse stakeholders involved, and what the Challenge is trying to achieve.