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: Beth Tupara-Katene

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

Haere mai to our new Chair

We are delighted to welcome our new Chair, Tania Te Rangingangana Simpson, who brings a wealth of knowledge that is directly relevant to our research into bringing together tikanga and mātauranga Māori with western science and New Zealand law.

Ngā mihi maioha, Sir Rob

Te tai ra, Te tai ra
Te tai ra e pari ana ki hea
E pari ana  ki te kauheke tangata
Ka rongo te ao
Kua rongo te po

E te rangatira

Kua riro atu koe ki te kapunipunitanga o te tangata. Ko te reo o te taiao tera e rangona atu i te mūnga o tōu na reo.

Ka waiho ma maumahara koe e mahara ki ou mahi rangatira i te wa o te ora. No reira, Haere atu ra, haere atu ra, okioki mai.

Haere mai to several new faces

We are committed to sharing our research, and engaging, with Māori and stakeholders, so are pleased to welcome Gemma Couzens, Martin de Beer, Charlotte Panton and Ursula Rojas-Nazar who are all directly supporting these aspects of our work.