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We are growing understanding of what it takes to transition to resilient, healthy and prosperous futures, and are developing tools to help

Science Theme Leader:

Helen Percy, AgResearch

Capacity Intro Image

For New Zealand to achieve its environmental goals, we need to quickly adopt new technology and provide incentives to help farmers and growers transition to the most sustainable land use and management practices.

Previously, it’s taken about 16 years to reach peak uptake of new research or technology. Pathways to Transition research aims to halve the time to adoption.

We are developing collaborative processes and planning tools for environmental decision-makers, so affected communities are fully included in decisions to develop transition pathways, decreasing ongoing conflict.

We aim to diagnose systemic barriers and co-design incentives to enable land-use change on a large scale.

Our work is increasing the capability of Our Land and Water scientists to collaborate and co-design research with industry, Māori and rural communities, changing the way we do science to accelerate uptake.

Pathways to Transition research is underpinned by the te āo Māori understanding that collective guardianship and shared responsibility is necessary for the long-term wellbeing of Papatūānuku (Earth).


New options and pathways to enhance te Taiao are being explored by land stewards and organisation in the agri-food and fibre system.

Questions We’re Answering


Can we grow urban and rural understanding about our complex land and water issues?


How do we encourage collective stewardship, change and accountability in catchments?


Can we change fast enough to be international leaders in sustainable food and fibre?


What are the benefits of better connecting people to land, water and their primary products?

Our Research in Action

C4t 1 Community Meeting

Community confidence in water management decisions were measured in three regions using collaborative policy-making processes. Collaboration Lab researchers found that residents perceived decision-making to be slightly more responsive to their concerns, but no more effective or fair. This tells us more needs to be done to make communities aware of collaborative processes in their catchment, and ensure participants are representative of their communities.

C4t 2 I2s Word Cloud Small

Researchers tested the I2S (Integration and Implementation Science) Framework. When more elements of the I2S Framework were used, end-users found the results more usable, and the research was more effective. This evidence supports Our Land and Water’s commitment to transdisciplinary research and can help researchers.

Manuka flowers and native New Zealand bee

Working with 200 representatives of iwi and hapū in Taitokerau (Northland), the Mauri Whenua Ora research team generated maps and open databases to explore a micro-economy model called Pā to Plate. The Pā to Plate project aims to connect urban Māori to their marae and to share the value of the produce from their whenua, and as a result support regional development. The maps are being used by Amokura Iwi Consortium to direct land use decisions such as new plantings of totara and mānuka in Taitokerau.

C4t 4 Co Authors Crop

Research is starting to benefit from collaboration. Half of the journal publications submitted by Our Land and Water researchers had stakeholders as coauthors by mid-2018. Challenge-funded research programmes maintain an average of 5.3 collaborations.

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