Prow of carved waka on beach

We are exploring the development of ecosystem-based management (EBM) that is founded on, and informed by mātauranga and tikanga Māori.

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 mission.

The Tangaroa programme is dedicated to exploring the development of ecosystem-based management (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 partnership and participation in managing our marine resources is an important factor in successfully enhancing and sustainably using these resources for future generations. 

We are:  

  • Developing an EBM approach that is underpinned and informed by kaitiakitanga. 
  • Supporting iwi, hapū and whānau understanding and implementation of kaitiakitanga, complemented by EBM science and tools. 
  • Developing innovatively improved partnership and leadership-based Māori participation in marine management and decision-making. 
  • Developing an understanding of key components of the Māori marine economy. 



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

We have examined mātauranga Māori associated with the marine environment by analysing key texts, historical archives, literature, reports and legislation.

He Pou Tokomanawa: kaitiakitanga in practice in our marine environment

We are developing a culturally-relevant pathway to enable mana whenua iwi to evaluate and contribute to management of Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine environment. 

Tāhuhu Matatau Te Ao Tangaroa: Empowering kaitiaki

We are collaborating with Māori communities to review scientific information that may support the expression of kaitiakitanga and other kaupapa tuku iho linked with the domain of Tangaroa. 

Tūhonohono: Tikanga Māori me te Ture Pākehā ki Takutai Moana

We are investigating how mātauranga and tikanga Māori and New Zealand law can be applied in the marine estate.

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

We are exploring and developing innovative governance tools for the marine environment while enhancing relationships between Māori, the Government and industry.

Whai Rawa, Whai Mana, Whai Oranga: Creating a world-leading indigenous blue economy

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

Maritime Museum Talk: Forecasting contamination

Watch recordings of our second NZ Maritime Museum breakfast talk from 19 August 2019. Ben Knight and Lincoln Mackenzie spoke about their research on forecasting and detecting marine contamination and harmful algal blooms.

New ways of defining seafloor resilience

A recent publication from the Tipping Points project identifies the factors that characterise how resilient a seafloor ecosystem is to change caused by stressors or disturbances.

Kudos Award for Drew Lohrer

NIWA researcher Drew Lohrer was named among eight winners in the 2019 Kudos Awards in early September.