BioHeritage agency's tikanga Māori approach to science

By Mānia Clarke

The government has announced a further $13.75mil for research to combat the spread of kauri dieback and myrtle rust.  

A single agency named the NZ Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, or BioHeritage Challenge, based on Treaty of Waitangi partnership principles, has been tasked with combating the diseases.

The Māori co-director, Melanie Shadbolt says the agency's approach is to include a "Māori perspective right from the outset, ensuring that research is designed by Māori, with Māori, for Māori.”

The chair of Tauranga-based research group Manaaki Te Awanui, Carlton Bidois, says he’s pleased the national biological heritage agency will distribute research funds.

“Māori must be supported to undergo research including our environmental guardianship methods,” says Bidois.  

Shadbolt says the agency is committed to partnering with Māori to change the way scientific research in New Zealand is undertaken.

“We're committed to principles like whanaungatanga, ensuring that everyone works collectively, that they're not working in silos,” says Shadbolt.

“Manaakitanga, creating safe places for all knowledge, including Māori kaitiaki, rongoā practictioners to be included in research right from the outset.”

Over the next three years, $5mil will be spent on research for myrtle rust and $8.75mil for kauri dieback.