The ultimate goal of the Mediated Modelling project was to enhance and restore ecosystems of importance to iwi and hapu of Tauranga Moana (in that case study). Therefore, key representatives from across Tauranga, including local iwi participants, provided a robust set of perspectives in the Mediated Modelling workshops, defining the ecological, economic, social and cultural impacts of the degradation of the health of Tauranga Harbour, and the life force it brings to tangata whenua. Only through understanding and cooperation between tangata whenua and all stakeholders in the Moana could this possibly be achieved.

Mediated Modelling Flowchart

The aim of the mediated modelling project was to understand the broad interrelationships between ecological “issues/problems” and their “causes” in Tauranga Moana, to:

(1) enable all stakeholders to have a common understanding of the issues;

(2) pinpoint areas for more detailed study in subsequent years of the project. The model helped us to isolate the most critical ‘leverage points’ in the system, which will be good areas to focus our research attention on.

The Mediated Modelling project is part of the broader “scoping exercise” of Year 1 of Manaaki Taha Moana.

  • To help us gain a greater understanding of the key factors that are impacting on the state of the moana, and to identify the critical “leverage points” that are likely to have the greatest impact to restore things that are currently degraded, we are undertook a series of workshops. Parts of participants’ stories were interpreted by the facilitator and simultaneously reflected onto a projected computer screen for all to see and comment on.
  • A model was built using computer software to show how all the individual aspects of the moana interact with each other, and impact on each other. This is called a “Systems Dynamics” model, and it is a powerful way of drawing together important information about the moana to get a better picture of what is causing the problems in the moana, how the moana will look in the future if certain conditions remain, and what improvements we could bring about in the future by making certain changes now to the way we do things.
  • We used all appropriate information that we are able to access about the state of the moana to help us put together an accurate picture of how the moana works. This information is now being used to design in-depth case studies for the Tauranga Harbour.
  • We aimed to have “stakeholders” in the mediated modelling workshops from across all key sectors in Tauranga, including government, industry, farming, business interests and nongovernmental organisations, who we believe have a great interest in, and influence over, the moana.
  • Participants had much to gain from this process by being be part of a unique way of dialoguing and capturing complex information about Tauranga moana and its catchment. Participants learned: facts and perspectives from various stakeholders; how to operate the computer based simulation model that participants help develop; how to simulate future scenarios for “what-if my perspective and assumptions about the future are correct” versus “what if someone else’s perspectives and assumptions about the future are correct”. A list of recommendations for action were produced.