Ngāti Awa and PF2050 Combine to Prove Indigenous Knowledge Key to Best Practice

December 30, 2021 3:36 pm

An Eastern Bay iwi has launched a research project to prove that local knowledge coupled with the latest innovations in technology is best practice when it comes to pest eradication.

The Korehāhā Whakahau project, administered by post-settlement governance entity Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, is Predator Free 2050 Limited’s first iwi-led landscape project and is a year into its possum eradication mission.

And now, with a funding boost of $300,000 from PF2050 Limited, made possible through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, Korehāhā Whakahau will embark on an 18-month project to research mātauranga (knowledge) pertaining to the biodiversity and unique landscape in the area.

The process undertaken to engage and incorporate mātauranga-ā-Iwi (indigenous knowledge) into this possum-eradication project, will provide a meaningful example to predator free operations throughout Aotearoa.

Initially the research will enable Korehāhā Whakahau to measure the well-being of the taiao according to the cultural and environmental values of Ngāti Awa. The next step will be to develop written and audio-visual resources, to share the learnings as a roadmap for other Predator Free 2050 projects and organisations.

PF2050 Limited Science Director, Dan Tompkins, says as a company Predator Free 2050 are striving to work alongside Iwi and hapū to learn and honour tino rangatiratanga, mātauranga, and tikanga to protect our taonga as we progress towards a predator free future.

“This funding is through Products to Projects initiative and the results will be integral for predator eradication projects’ work with mana whenua, and the use of new tools and technology guided by mātauranga.”

PF2050 Limited’s Acting Chair David Macleod says the Korehāhā Whakahau project is a leading example of iwi bringing their mātauranga to improve the environmental and social wellbeing of their rohe, and the research project will enable that to be understood more widely for the benefit of Aotearoa.

Korehāhā Whakahau aims to eradicate possums from up to 4700ha within the rohe (tribal area) of Ngāti Awa, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Manager Taiao Michal Akurangi says

“Firstly, we want to implement a range of methods and techniques to eradicating possums that do not rely on using toxins. This provides an opportunity to test new initiatives technologies and methods by fostering innovation.”

“Through this project we want to build the capability and capacity of Ngāti Awa iwi and hapū in the biodiversity and biosecurity sector. We wouldn’t be able to do this without building, growing and fostering our knowledge systems and the connection our people have to the whenua.”

“And finally, we want to be able to introduce mātauranga indicators to understand the changes to the health of the ngāhere (forest) and whenua (land). This funding boost from PF2050 has provided us with an opportunity to employ our own researchers to explore this area so we can comprehensively say that our project has been successful because species that were endemic to our rohe and important to our people are thriving.”

Ms Akurangi says three researchers are set to start with the project in the new year. The research, implementation and delivery of the resource will run through to 31 October 2023.

‘Products to Projects’ supports inventors, developers and manufacturers to deliver new and improved products for field use and help predator eradication projects develop ‘best practice’ guidance on their use. More than $6m is currently being invested, previously from the Provincial Growth Fund and now from Jobs for Nature, into at least 20 projects that are also supporting regional development and new jobs. For more information see PF2050 Ltd’s Products to Projects.

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