We are utilising Western Science and Mātauranga Maori knowledge, as well as participatory modelling tools and processes, to assist iwi/hapu to evaluate and define preferred options for enhancing/restoring coastal ecosystems. This evaluation of options will be assisted by the development of innovative IT and decision support tools (for example: digital libraries, simulation modelling, interactive mapping, 3D depiction, real-time monitoring) by Waka Digital.

Action plans are being produced for improving coastal ecosystems in each rohe. The research team aims to work closely with iwi/hapu in the case study regions to develop tools and approaches to facilitate the uptake of this knowledge and its practical implementation. Mechanisms will also be put in place to facilitate uptake amongst other iwi throughout NZ

The aim of this exciting new research programme – funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for 6 years – is to restore and enhance coastal ecosystems and their services of importance to iwi, through a better knowledge of these ecosystems and the degradation processes that affect them.

Ecosystem Services Research in New Zealand

Attached is a list, with summaries and contact information, of research being conducted in New Zealand about Ecosystems Services. It was compiled by the Department of Conservation, who acknowledge that coming to grips with and using the concept of ecosystems services is a big, multi-disciplinary task, that is both an opportunity and a challenge. They conclude that the more we share information and coordinate our efforts, the better, and that the attached summary helps in this regard.


Ecosystem Services Research

We will build upon the experience and knowledge gained in Massey’s previous FRST programme, ‘Enhancing and Sustaining Ecosystems within the Ngāti Raukawa rohe’ (MAUX0502), which had a land-based focus, to gain a more holistic coverage of ecosystems in the Ngāti Raukawa rohe from ‘the mountains to the sea’.

The research involves a partnership between Tauranga Moana iwi, Ngāti Raukawa, WakaDigital, Massey University and the Cawthron Institute. The iwi/hapū-based teams are a blend of established and emerging researchers led by Dr Huhana Smith (Taiao Raukawa) and Caine Taiapa (Tauranga moana). Many external agencies have also provided support and cofunding for this research. We anticipate that the results of this research will provide favourable outcomes for coastal ecosystems and their services in the case study areas.

The data and knowledge generated by the research will have the following immediate benefits for the participating iwi:

  • Improving the understanding of the causes of the degradation of coastal ecosystems and identifying what can be done about it.
  • Producing action plans for improving coastal ecosystems in their rohe.
  • Empowering participating iwi in resource management planning, by arming them with robust data on coastal ecosystems and the causes of their degradation.
  • Capacity building in applied coastal ecosystems research.
  • Benefits will also flow to other iwi and groups through transfer of the research throughout New Zealand.