Project Details

Project contact:

Huhana Smith
College of Creative Arts Toirauwhārangi, Massey University

Project budget:


Project duration:

July 2020
December 2021

Enhancing taonga species (Phase 2)

Manaaki i ngā taonga i tukua mai e ngā tupuna

This research aims to enhance taonga species for future generations and te taiao, given cumulative climate impacts, from increased flooding to loss of mauri.

research team at Ohau

Building on research the team carried out on their whenua in two earlier Deep South Challenge projects, this project will consider climatic, ecological and hydrological variables that might foster or inhibit the revitalisation of coastal taonga species - in particular, tuna (eels) and īnanga (whitebait).

Working intimately with whānau and hapū, the team will draw on mātauranga Māori about water systems and kaimoana, including local historical experiences of adjusting to changing conditions.

With the advice of the Raglan-based enterprise NitroEels, the team aims to activate sustainably managed tuna and īnanga nurseries in their rohe. This aligns with Te Mana o Te Wai framework, within MfE’s Action for Healthy Waterways. 

Likely climate impacts in the team's rohe include stronger, longer and more frequent flooding events, as well as changing surface and groundwater levels. The research therefore asks, How can Māori land owners transition from agriculture to other land uses which enhance taonga species, including tuna and īnanga?

The team's methodology aims to increase whānau/hapū participation and ensure effective adaptation to our changing climate.


Photo: Huhana Smith, Christian Zammit and Rebecca Eivers on boardwalk over Te Hākari dune wetland stream. Photograph by Julie Merckling.