Independent scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand.

Manaaki Taha Moana: Knowledge and toolsets to support co-management of estuaries

The central objective of this research is to empower iwi/hapū to be strong partners in the co-management of estuaries by providing improved knowledge/tools/processes. During this four-year programme, Cawthron’s main contributions will be in developing indicators of estuarine health and statistical models to forecast the effects of different management scenarios on important estuarine species. These models will be incorporated into a larger Integrative Spatial Planning Tool (ISPT), a hybrid GIS-modelling system will enable end-users to evaluate future planning options for Tauranga Harbour.

This system will be a world first, in the sense that it couples spatial-dynamic relationships between terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems, as well as showing how these ecosystems connect to the Tauranga economy, iwi/hapū cultural values, land use and other environmental factors. Tauranga Harbour is our test-bed, with tools/knowledge/processes readily transferred to other regions, other hapū/iwi and other ecosystem types, particularly coastal, through our deliberate benefit-transfer strategy.

Objective: To empower iwi/hapū to be strong partners in the co-management of estuaries.

The four-year programme has three phases, which are proceeding concurrently:

Phase 1 – Mātauranga Māori focusing on an enhanced web-enabled Estuarine Cultural Health Index (ECHI), with an oral history critical enquiry of local iwi/hapū knowledge and how this can be integrated into contemporary coastal co-management.

Phase 2 – Ecological Knowledge, Modelling and Indicators of estuarine ecosystem health, resilience and functioning.

Phase 3 – Integrative Spatial Planning Tool (ISPT).  A hybrid GIS-modelling system will enable end-users to evaluate future planning options for Tauranga Harbour. The system will be a world first, in the sense that it couples spatial-dynamic relationships between terrestrial and estuarine ecosystems, as well as showing how these ecosystems connect to the Tauranga economy, iwi/hapū cultural values, land use and other environmental factors. Tauranga Harbour will be the primary focal area, with tools/knowledge/processes readily transferred to other regions, other hapū/iwi and other ecosystem types, particularly coastal, through deliberate benefit-transfer strategy.

We have established a National Estuarine Reference Group of end users from regional councils and central government and iwi, and will also work with the National Advisory Group for Integrated Planning (representing 21 end user groups) to facilitate uptake of these tools nationally.

Funder: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Partners and collaborators: Led by Massey University, our other research partners are Manaaki Te Awanui Trust, University of Waikato, WakaDigital Ltd and Market Economics Ltd.

For more information please see the Manaaki Taha Moana website or contact Jim Sinner or Chris Cornelisen.

This research aims to provide iwi/hapū with improved knowledge, tools and processes for the co-management of estuaries.