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Support for 16 Māori research projects


Tāmaki Makaurau – From improving Aotearoa’s response to whale strandings to using eDNA to monitor biodiversity and inform sustainable development, 16 projects will receive funding through the latest round of te pūnaha hihiko MBIE funding round.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) invests in projects designed to strengthen capability, capacity, skills and networks between Māori and science and innovation.

By embracing mātauranga Māori alongside modern science, New Zealand grows its pool of knowledge, strengthens community connections and makes room for a wider range of ideas and experiences that enhance our research outcomes.

Projects supported by the 2023 te pūnaha hihiko: vision mātauranga capability fund include:

  • Ko ahau te tohorā, te tohorā ko ahau, I am the whale, and the whale is me – A call for Mātauranga Māori to improve whale stranding response in Aotearoa. A partnership between Massey University and Te Kauika Tangaroa Charitable Trust to develop new knowledge informed by generations of mātauranga Māori alongside decades of science-based veterinary practice and standards.
  • Tātai aroraki ki te Toka: southern Māori astronomy. A partnership between Otago Museum Trust Board and te rūnanga o Moeraki to address the distinct knowledge gap regarding mātauraka tātai aroraki (astronomy) for Kāi Tahu.
  • Māori-led innovation in the cultivation of fungi for high-value applications. A partnership between Wakatū Incorporation and Dr Simmon Hofstetter, Dr Mahonri Owen and the University of Otago to connect mātauranga with expertise in microbiology and robotics to explore automation of production and harvesting of locally sourced fungi.
  • eDNA technologies for kaitiakitanga o te moana. A partnership between Ngāti Hei Holdings Limited and the Cawthron Institute to apply cutting-edge eDNA tools to monitor biodiversity throughout Ngāti Hei’s rohe moana. This will inform Ngāti Hei’s efforts to manage threats to the unique marine ecosystems in their rohe sustainable economic development initiatives.
  • A national resource on pā harakeke for weavers: intertwining mātauranga and science. A partnership between Landcare Research, A Manaaki Whenua and Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust to produce a new and significantly revised pā harakeke handbook reflecting cultural and ethnobotanical values of harakeke.

More information, including the full list of recipients see: te pūnaha hihiko funding supports Māori research | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (

Established in 2010, the vision mātauranga capability fund invests around $4 million each investment round into projects across two schemes: the Connect Scheme, which builds new connections between Māori organisations and the science and innovation system.