The Māori world view (te ao Māori) acknowledges the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all living and non-living things. This holistic approach, seeking to understand the total system, not just parts of it, is at the heart of the Our Land and Water Challenge.
The principles of kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the land) are also central to our research. We have an intergenerational duty to restore and increase the mauri (life force, vitality) of our land and water, and to nuture the reciprocal relationship between tangata (people) and the whenua (land).
Most Our Land and Water research has the potential to be informed by a te ao Māori lens. The inclusion of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) can deepen our collective understanding of connections, interdependencies, and long-term intergenerational perspectives.
We believe that combining mātauranga Māori and Western science will result in a new wave of applied science that is distinctly designed for Aotearoa.
Our Land and Water is committed to partnering with Māori and has a structured approach, co-designed with our Kāhui, to give effect to this commitment. This commitment extends to future collaborators, by supporting Māori secondary-school students who are interested in science careers through the Pūhoro STEM Academy.
Our Kāhui has facilitated a plan to ensure the Challenge continually improves and implements respectful practices and processes with our Māori partnerships. The plan provides a co-design approach to address critical research issues identified by several Māori organisations and entities throughout New Zealand. These partners have signalled their intent to collaborate and implement Challenge science and were chosen for their geographic spread, strong hapū or whānau identity at a national level, and their influence and ability to make change happen in a culturally nuanced way.
This plan gives effect to Vision Mātauranga across the Challenge and supports Māori innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership.