The Oranga Taiao Oranga Tangata Project is builds on the work undertaken in MTM, and will develop toolsets that assist Iwi and Hapu with co-management of Estuaries.  By restoring the health of the Estuarine Environment, we also enhance health of the People.

There are 3 main phases to this research programme, which are inter-related and run in tandem with each other. Professor Murray Patterson of Massey University is the Science Leader, with responsibility for overseeing the complex Research Design and ensuring that the inter-related sub-projects and phases contribute to the research goals of each phase and the overall aims of the OTOT Research Programme.

Phase 1 – Mātauranga Māori

This phase is focusing on the development of an enhanced web-enabled Estuarine Cultural Health Index (ECHI), with an oral history critical enquiry of local iwi/hapū knowledge, and will examine how this can be integrated into contemporary coastal co-management. This phase is led by Caine Taiapa of Manaaki te Awanui in Tauranga moana, with WakaDigital Ltd undertaking the Information Technology development and having a significant role to play in knowledge uptake and benefit transfer of of OTOT toolsets throughout New Zealand.

Phase 2 – Ecological Knowledge, Modelling and Indicators

This phase is focussed on expanding our ecological knowledge base about estuarine ecosystem health, resilience and functioning, with the development of relevant modelling and indicators to foster effective decision making of estuaries. There are various projects within this Phase, including input from a wide variety of stakeholders and end user groups. Key researchers involved in this phase include ecological and coastal scientists and modellers at Cawthron Institute and the University of Waikato, with input from all other collaborating researchers in OTOT.

Phase 3 – Integrative Spatial Planning Tool (ISPT).

This phase is focussed on development a hybrid GIS-modelling system that will enable end-users to evaluate future planning options for Tauranga Harbour. This system will be a world first, in the sense that it couples spatial-dynamic relationships between terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems, as well as showing how these ecosystems inter-connect to the Tauranga economy, iwi/hapū cultural values, land use and other environmental factors. This Phase is led by Market Economics Ltd, with input from Massey University and other OTOT research partners.

Tauranga Harbour will be our test-bed, with tools/knowledge/processes readily transferred to other regions, other hapū/iwi and other ecosystem types, particularly coastal, through our deliberate benefit-transfer strategy.