Engaging with Māori
This research report offers greater understanding of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view) implications of myrtle rust in order to support more effective investments, and improve use of mātauranga Māori (Maori knowledge systems), and kaupapa Māori (Māori-led research) approaches in management regimes.
A protection plan template (and exemplars) were developed to assist iwi/Māori to map their rohe (boundaries) to understand where at risk species are located and develop a plan for protecting them. These plans will also assist in their preparedness for new incursions.
Huarahi (pathways) centric to Māori values were developed to evaluate/test the effectiveness of engagement within the research project, and to provide a guide for future engagement with hapū/iwi (subtribe/tribe) in research projects.
Team members of this Te Ao Māori research project also collaborated with a wide range of researchers and organisations undertaking other MPI-funded myrtle rust research.
Download the report: Myrtle Rust - Te Ao Māori
Mahi (work) undertaken as part of this research:
- Nine regional engagement and information hui, over 140 participants – ensuring mana whenua (indigenous people) are informed of the management response in their rohe and how they want to be involved.
- Te Tira Whakamataki (Māori Biosecurity Network) – undertook interviews and surveys to understand Maori priorities, attitudes and values in response to myrtle rust and invasive biosecurity incursions.
- Protection Plans – this research developed a novel protection plan that enables Māori communities to have conversations about the future of their taonga specimens and sites of significance. The plan guides Māori communities through a process that defines the desired end state that they want for their identified specimen or site.
- Mātauranga Māori hui/interviews – researchers explored Māori expectations that encouraged the inclusion of mātauranga solutions in this and future biosecurity responses.
Key insights and outcomes
Māori hui (gathering)
- Kaitiaki (guardians) are more inclined to share their knowledge in a more intimate setting with people they know and trust rather than hui.
- While conducting kaupapa Māori research, there is a risk that Māori participants provide information that they don’t want to have publicly disclosed. This can be a major limitation on the acquisition of data. To address this, participants were informed at the beginning that their information would remain anonymous and can be withdrawn at any time.
- Sensitive information is normally withheld for fear of wider release and/or potential for misinterpretation or misuse.
- Reports, presentations, communications and publications that are external to participant organisations, along with new/subsequent funding and research applications, require further discussions with participants or their representatives, and written consent.
- Researchers concluded that active kaitiaki are less supportive of tools and technologies that are either gene- or toxin-based, especially if they are spread aerially.
Interview and survey summaries
- Regionally based Te Tira Whakamataki technicians (kaitiaki) completed 87 survey interviews with 45 questions. The majority were from rural settlements (53%) in the Bay of Plenty (26%), Waikato (24%) and Northland (24%) regions:
- Kaitiaki want above all else to protect their environments for their whanau, and they want to be involved in planning pest control if possible.
- Many have paid experience in environmental protection (44.8%).
- Most kaitiaki work is voluntary (88.1%).
- Māori and kaitiaki are aware of biosecurity issues, specifically myrtle rust, but are not being engaged. A database should be created of kaitiaki who can receive up to date information on the response and developments.
- Active kaitiaki are in the bush at least once a month and are ideal for monitoring myrtle rust spread.
- Engagement in discussions with kaitiaki and hapū will determine how they can be better engaged in the myrtle rust response and other biosecurity responses.
- Māori have capability and infrastructure that can help in biosecurity responses, but they need resourcing to engage effectively. Engagement also needs to be pre-incursion response so that trust-based relationships are built.
- Kaitiaki are looking for information and tools that can assist them to make better decisions.
- Any tools developed that require the use of toxins and aerial spraying need to be designed with Māori, or include Māori in discussions prior to their use – otherwise users and developers of the tools risk losing their cultural and social licence.
- Influencers or trusted partners should be used when trying to engage with Māori, kaitiaki, iwi, hapū. Trusted partner and influencers could be scientists with relationships, iwi, hapū, community leaders, or the Ministry of the Environment. Make sure you understand these influencers and trusted partners vary across the regions and age gaps.
- The research developed a novel protection plan in response to myrtle rust that enables Māori communities to have conversations about the future of their taonga specimens and sites of significance. The plans guide Māori communities through a process that defines the desired end state that they want for their identified specimen or site.
- Five rōpū-based protection plans in five rohe were completed. This research provided an exemplar or template for a kaupapa Māori-based protection plan that can be tested or incorporated, where appropriate, in the future long-term management of myrtle rust.
- Eight priority issues were identified that could be discussed and assessed by mana whenua rōpū and their communities to protect their taonga and rohe from the disease.
- The plan also developed six mana whenua rōpū-led solutions and mitigations to manage myrtle rust in their rohe, and provided a response framework for rōpū to identify timelines, activities and resources needs within their rohe.
- The protection plan templates has provided a contemporary adaptive management approach for Māori rōpū and their communities, to test and/or adopt in response to myrtle rust.
- Huarahi (pathways) centric to Māori values were developed to evaluate/test the effectiveness of the engagement within the research project, and to provide a guide for future engagement with hapū/iwi in research projects:
- Pono – transparency and social responsibility
- Mātauranga – Mātauranga enhances the cultural, social and economic value of hapū
- Aroha – opportunities for inclusion
- Whenua – transparency, responsibility and authority
- Manaaki – to protect, provide and contribute
- Rangatiratanga – acknowledges te Ao Māori
- Tautoko – enabling collaboration
- Tika – establishing rules of engagement; seeking justice