Young Maori boy holding fish

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

Programme leader: Linda Faulkner, Tutaiao Ltd

Throughout Māori history the sea has played a dominant role given the ancestral connections and existence of Māori as island peoples for thousands of years. The knowledge established through this connection, alongside the increasingly significant customary and commercial interests held by Māori in the resources of the sea, are contributing to achieving the Challenge’s objective.

The Tangaroa programme is dedicated to exploring the development of EBM that is founded on and informed by mātauranga and tikanga Māori. It is looking at mātauranga-inspired innovations that enable Māori to participate as partners and leaders in marine management and decision-making.

Our projects focus on:

  • The practice and maintenance of kaitiakitanga/guardianship in our marine environment
  • Understanding the Māori marine economy and future opportunities
  • Developing practical resources for Māori to support improved marine management
  • Assessing New Zealand’s legal and policy frameworks for enabling Māori partnerships and leadership in marine management.

Our approach recognises that positively supporting Māori participation in managing our marine resources is an important factor in successfully enhancing and sustainably using these resources for future generations.


Hui-te-ana-nui: understanding kaitiakitanga in our marine environment

Historical Māori marine guardianship

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.

He Pou Tokomanawa: kaitiakitanga in practice in our marine environment

Marine kaitiakitanga in practice

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).

Tāhuhu Matatau Te Ao Tangaroa: Empowering the kaitiaki of Ngā Whare Tokotoru ki Katikati with mātauranga from Aotearoa and beyond

Using science to support kaitiaki

The Māori research team will work collaboratively with local kaitiaki and participating hapū to: (i) review Western science literature in domains relating to marine ecology, spatial planning, real-time monitoring and aquaculture to (ii) identify, prioritise and validate areas of relevance and possible data/knowledge gaps while (iii) mediating the transfer of approaches, frameworks and tools to frontline kaitiaki via the development of an online training programme and resource centre.

Tūhonohono: tikanga Māori me te Ture Pākehā ki Takutai Moana

Understanding the dynamic between Māori lore and NZ law

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.

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

Innovatively improved pathways

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).

The Māori Marine Economy: Ka Mua Ka Muri

We will identify and disseminate strategies that support the economic development of Māori organisations that rely on marine ecosystems and the ecological development of these spaces.

Latest news and updates

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.

We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.

New resource: Understanding kaitiakitanga in our marine environment

This publicly-available report examines mātauranga associated with the marine environment, and explores themes and why they are important to consider in decision-making. It also indexes the reference sources of this varied mātauranga, and signposts where to go for further detail.

Video: How current legislative frameworks in NZ enable EBM

Lara Taylor and Tania Te Whenua gave this presentation at the NZ Coastal Society conference.  This research is part of the 'Ecosystem-based management (EBM) within NZ's existing legislative framework' project, which is developing a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints offered by current legislation and decision-making processes.