Researchers at GNS Science have been awarded funding of $480,000 for four new projects in the 2017 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko-Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund.
This was announced this week by Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.
This year, $3.9 million was awarded for 32 projects from the fund, which aims to strengthen relationships between Māori and scientists.
The projects run for two years and are aligned with four themes – indigenous innovation, environmental sustainability, health and social wellbeing, and exploring indigenous knowledge.
The GNS Science projects are:
• Working with Ngāti Hauā Iwi Trust to develop an interactive user portal that collates and presents freshwater scientific, Mātauranga and policy knowledge of the Piako River catchment. The information portal will enable Ngāti Hauā to make informed decisions about freshwater resource management. As part of the project there will be hands-on marae-based workshops to share scientific knowledge and to facilitate learning through experience. The project has been awarded $100,000 and will be led by scientists Abigail Lovett and Zara Rawlinson and Māori relationships advisor Diane Bradshaw, in collaboration with Weka Pene and Lisa Gardiner of Ngāti Hauā Iwi Trust.
• Working with Whakarewarewa Village Charitable Trust in Rotorua to better understand health effects of hydrogen sulphide. The gas, famously responsible for Rotorua’s distinctive odour, is one of the two main gases found in the village. The project will use information from a database from three years of course air particulate sampling at Whakarewarewa Village. Hydrogen sulphide is 1.2 times denser than air and can be fatal at high concentrations. Long-term exposure due to emittance from the ground can cause chronic health problems such as asthma. As well as improving Māori understanding, the project will also help improve the health of the workforce at the Village. The project has been awarded $100,000 and will be led by ion beam scientist Andreas Markwitz and geochemist Agnes Mazot, in association with Ringahora Huata and James Warbick of the Village Trust.
• Working with Hauraki iwi Ngāti Hako to integrate scientific information and traditional knowledge to better understand and realise the mineral resources in the iwi’s rohe (tribal region).The project will develop a pathway to unlock the mineral potential as well as economic opportunities. Findings will be shared through a series of hui. One output will be a database of the region’s mineral resources identifying their attributes and economic significance. The project has been awarded $100,000 and is led by Mark Simpson, Anthony Christie, Robert Reeves, and Diane Bradshaw together with Pauline Clarkin of Ngāti Hako.
• Working with Rotorua iwi Ngāti Rangiwewehi to identify ‘kaitiaki’ flow regimes for Awahou Stream near Rotorua. This is a new water management concept for spring-fed catchments to bring together science and traditional knowledge. One output will be a water resources capability plan, which will be promulgated to other iwi and water suppliers and is expected to help other iwi with water resources capability development. This project has been awarded $180,000 and is led by groundwater scientists Paul White, Abi Lovett, Conny Tschritter, and Magali Moreau in association with Gina Mohi of Ngāti Rangiwewehi.
GNS Science is also participating in two other iwi-led projects that have won funding totalling $143,000. Both projects involve geologist Simon Cox.
One will see Dr Cox working with the Ngāti Koata Trust in Nelson to build improved knowledge of the geology, resources and environment of the Maitai River, and the Hira and Waimea forests in the Nelson region.
In the other, he will work West Coast entity Kati Waewae, one of the 18 constituent hapu of Ngāi Tahu, using occurrence and resource assessment of pounamu to help lift their earth science knowledge and encourage young people to take an interest in science and traditional knowledge.