Wednesday, 01 February 2012 22:31

Iwi Ecosystem Services, with Ngāti Raukawa

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This collaborative FRST-funded research (MAUX 0502)  was conducted by Massey University and Landcare Research (NZCEE), Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa and Te Rūnanga o Raukawa. One of the strengths of the research programme was its aim to face the challenging questions concerned with how science can be conducted in a cross-cultural context. The project demonstrated that: (i) Western science, economics and Kaupapa Māori science can co-exist in harmony; and (ii) Kaupapa Māori science and indigenous knowledge systems have the potential to greatly enrich and even challenge conventional economics and science.

The project aims were to:
* Spatially map/value natural ecosystems within the Ngāti Raukawa rohe, and identify the direct/indirect drivers of change responsible for present-day ecological degradation;
* Empower hapū and other end-user groups to address these problems using an ecosystem services approach grounded in Mātauranga Māori to address the direct and indirect drivers of ecosystem degradation; 
* Formulate hapū management plans for specific case studies and ensure that future management and restoration activities are supported by an appropriate regulatory context;
* Undertake the above items (i)-(iii) by employing a kaupapa Māori approach that provides opportunity for capability development in aspiring Māori researchers.

The principles of Whakatupuranga Rua Mano guiding the research project are:
* Our people are our wealth – retain and develop
* Te Reo is a taonga – halt the decline and revive
* The marae is our principal home – maintain and respect
* Self determination

The final phase of the 4-year project involved two case studies that built on the knowledge and outcomes generated earlier in the project towards ecosystem restoration in the Ngāti Raukawa rohe:

Case Study 1 - Exploring our role as kaitiaki of the Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa Ōtaki campus;

The Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa campus in Ōtaki was a former wetland.  Wetland vegetation was cleared and the area drained in the late 1800s.  The campus is part of a tract of land owned by the Ōtaki Porirua Trust Board and includes neighbouring farmland, stream network and local public domain.  For this case study, a team of 8 staff will: (i) assess the direct and indirect impact of campus activities on local ecosystems; (ii) research, record and map cultural/natural ecosystems and their services values; and (iii) develop an Action Plan for restoring ecosystem services on the Campus and surrounding area.

Case Study 2 - Ngāti Tukorehe case study.

This case study, led by Dr Huhana Smith, builds on the Te Hākari wetland restoration project*.  The future viability of this wetland is now dependent upon preservation and restoration of surrounding natural ecosystems at the landscape scale – currently under threat from housing sub-division.

Te Iwi o Ngāti Tukorehe Trust (TIONTT) have formed a project team of 13 people, and developed a project plan to map natural ecosystems and services values in a cultural landscape context with Research Leader for this case study, Dr Huhana Smith.  The team will build a landscape-scale GIS overlay to our existing ecosystem services GIS database, developed by Dr Golubiewski at NZCEE, and use this to write an ‘Action Plan’.  GPS equipment, a GIS computer workstation, training and GIS modelling/mapping support have been deployed to this project.

This project aims to map cultural and natural landscape significance the ahi kaa roa within the coastal Kuku area, Horowhenua region. The team from Tukorehe who are involved in the NZCEE project is made up of key active participants from TIONTT environmental sub-committee and other supporters. They are keen to get out in the field and gather the data that will be included in this important visual database. The team are very excited by the potential of this proejct that aims to:

  • Gather and spatially map the cultural landscape and ecological values of the case-study area to Ngāti Tukorehe;
  • Identify and record sites/areas of significance to Ngāti Tukorehe, and their associated natural and cultural values;
  • Develop Active Management and Protection Plans to integrate mapping information into local and regional planning and decision-making processes;
  • Develop a conceptual model of drivers of change.

The practical benefits, once the Action Plan has been approved and implemented, are likely to be: (i) protection of the existing Te Hākari wetland from the effects of adjoining farmland and a planned sub-division; (ii) improved connectivity of existing wetlands, (iii) improved connectivity of forest remnants and (iv) riparian vegetation; (v) and the replanting of an adjacent exotic forest block with native trees once it is harvested.

On 19 November 2008, Horowhenua District Council signed a Memorandum of Partnership with Te Iwi o Ngāti Tukorehe Trust.

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