Capacity for Transition

Storying Kaitiakitanga

Sharing kaitiakitanga values and practices in the Māori agricultural sector to enhance productivity and identify new niche markets

Yvonne Taura, landowner Mere Whaanga, Jo Smith, Jessica Hutchings, Pahauwera Kaumatua Richard Allen at Taipōrutu, Māhia, NZ


Challenge funding: $248,190

Research duration: December 2017 – June 2019

What Are We Doing?

He kai aku ringa. (There is food at the end of my hands.)

Kaitiakitanga values of guardianship and responsibility make an important contribution to Aotearoa New Zealand’s agriculture and food sector. Applying these values more widely could help ensure future generations benefit culturally and ecologically from whenua (land) and awa (water) resources underpinning agriculture and food production.

This research project will raise the profile of existing and emerging Māori food production practices that contribute to a kaupapa Māori food story. Case studies will show how food production can be done differently and encourage innovation.

In a highly competitive global market, communicating and employing kaitiakitanga values and practices could enhance productivity and help identify new markets for Aotearoa New Zealand food, while meeting economic, environmental and cultural objectives.

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi. (With your basket and my basket the people will live.)

PICTURED ABOVE: Yvonne Taura, landowner Mere Whaanga, Jo Smith, Jessica Hutchings, Pahauwera Kaumatua Richard Allen at Taipōrutu, Māhia NZ

How Can The Research Be Used?

  • The research team have interviewed Māori agribusiness and food production communities, including flax-roots, marae-based initiatives, small-to-medium business entities and Māori-led corporations. Summary sheets profiling a range of Māori food production practices will be online from mid-2019.
  • Researchers have developed a website to provide information while interviews with diverse Māori food producers, retailers, and enterprises are in progress.
  • A reader-friendly story will show the diverse practices and distinctive tangata whenua (people of the land) and awa relationships that exist in the Māori agribusiness and horticulture sectors. The end result will a range of kaupapa Māori communication materials designed for a general audience, to be completed by the end of June 2019.

Team Snapshot

Research Outputs


Enhancing Maori Agribusiness Through Kaitiakitanga Tools

J. Hutchings, J. Smith, N. Roskruge, C. Severne, J. Mika, Dr J. Panoho
Massey University, July 2017

This report focuses on Māori agribusinesses and their dynamic and holistic approach to natural resources that seek to balance commercial and cultural imperatives. An overview of the Māori agribusiness sector is provided, as well as kaitiakitanga (guardianship) tools operating in the Māori environmental and resource management sectors. The Māori agribusiness sector could be enhanced and strengthened by employing Māori science and knowledge systems.

Digital Tools

Storying Kaitiakitanga – A Kaupapa Māori Land and Water Food Story

The project website offers further information about case studies and contributors.

Have a Question?

We are happy to answer any questions about this research and how it can be used.

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