Mātauranga Māori & Aquaculture

Imagining an open ocean aquaculture industry in Aotearoa New Zealand that supports the aspirations and values of kaupapa Māori aquaculture

Kaimoana or mātaitai (seafood) has a central place in Te Ao Māori, embedded in tribal histories, identities and practices. Māori have an intergenerational claim to aquaculture development opportunities. With the ocean space they currently have, and the potential for more to be gained in future, Māori have the potential to transform aquaculture through their own values, tikanga, and mātauranga to provide smart sustainable aquaculture that benefits their people and regional economies.

Some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s current inshore aquaculture space is Māori owned. Through our relationships and engagement with iwi, hapū and whānau groups and Māori enterprise, we know many are seeking to maximise the value of their open ocean marine space while ensuring their knowledge and values contribute to the best possible outcomes for their iwi/hapū/whānau, te taiao (environment) and the wider community.

Genuine partnership models

Some iwi/hapū/whānau groups or Māori owned enterprises already have OOA investments, and others are looking to develop them.

We are privileged to be working closely with core Programme partner Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board which owns Aotearoa New Zealand’s only open ocean mussel farm, Whakatōhea Mussels Ōpōtiki Ltd. Our goal is to co-develop a plan for their involvement in OOA research and development through the Ngā Punga o te Moana Programme that strengthens iwi/hapū/whānau identity and capacity and empowers them to exercise their rangatiratanga by taking a leadership role in the emerging OOA sector. Our work will recognise and uphold mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to inform environmentally appropriate development of OOA.

Our intent is for this work to support the same outcomes for other iwi/hapū/whānau groups across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tim Harwood at Maketu wanaga

Te Pūtahi Rangahau - 'Living lab' collaboration

In a practical sense, this Programme will formalise and strengthen Cawthron’s existing partnership with Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board through a novel ‘living lab’ collaboration – Te Pūtahi Rangahau – prioritising knowledge sharing, idea generation, co-development, and responsive experimentation in OOA design.

Te Pūtahi Rangahau refers to the confluence (pūtahi) of research and innovation (rangahau), i.e. the co-development of ideas and practices for OOA. Starting with a wānanga between leaders—rangatira ki te rangatira, kanohi ki te kanohi—this process will be based upon values or ‘anchors’ (ngā punga) that recognise tikanga and mātauranga Māori and advance OOA to benefit Māori in ways consistent with their values and aspirations. The intent of Te Pūtahi Rangahau is to support Whakatōhea to build capacity and capability in the design and operational aspects of OOA, as well as mātauranga Māori research.

Heni Unwin from Cawthron Institue talking to fisherman