Lessons from Our Land and Water

The Our Land and Water National Science Challenge journey to a Tiriti-led science partnership: the lived experience and the lessons learned

Project Details Ngā taipitopito

Project Status:
Challenge funding:
Research duration:
August 2022 – December 2023

Collaborators Ngā haumi

AgResearch | McKeague Consulting | NZIER | Orangahau

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What are we doing?E aha ana mātou?

Our Land and Water began funding research in 2016, as one of 11 National Science Challenges established to use a mission-oriented approach to focus on issues of national importance identified by the New Zealand public. All National Science Challenges were expected to partner effectively with Māori, guided by the Vision Mātauranga policy.

In 2018, Our Land and Water reassessed its strategy as part of the ‘mid-way review’ of the National Science Challenges. This led to a commitment to embed te ao Māori at the heart of the Challenge, to support re-imagining the agri-food and fibre system in ways unique to Aotearoa. The concept of te Taiao was introduced as the frame for Our Land and Water’s research planning.

Applying a te ao Māori lens to the development and commissioning of a mission-led, impact-focused research portfolio is new for mainstream research in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our Land and Water therefore represents an experiment within the National Science Challenge experiment.

This project is a self-examination of what has been learned and the results of this experiment, using qualitative and quantitative research methods.

How can the research be used? Ka pēhea e whai take ai te rangahau?

  • This reflective project will provide key evidence for how research in Aotearoa New Zealand can support the goals of the Vision Mātauranga policy. A case study document will be produced for the Rauika Māngai, a group of senior Māori researchers from across the National Science Challenges. The case study will contribute to a document being prepared by the Rauika Māngai that will provide guidance on implementing Vision Mātauranga based on the variety of approaches trialled by the National Science Challenges.
  • A policy-focused report will provide information to inform and improve science policy in New Zealand and provide lessons for Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways, the restructure of the science sector.
  • A journal article will share learning from the Our Land and Water experiment with researchers and governments overseas and in New Zealand who are interested in the potential of mission-oriented innovation to address complex issues, and the implementation of bicultural science partnerships.
  • These three outputs correspond to three expected areas of impact: support Rauika Māngai and Māori researchers to improve science in New Zealand; inform policy-makers and funders to improve science policy in New Zealand; and document and share the Our Land and Water experience and learning among fellow researchers to reflect on a partnership approach and a mission-oriented approach to research to address complex issues.

Participation & engagement Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

  • Qualitative interviews will be conducted with Our Land and Water leadership and staff (past and present), governance group, collaborators, stakeholders and the National Science Challenge funder MBIE.
  • The project team will collaborate with the Rauika Māngai to understand the successes and shortfalls of Our land and Water’s experience with the te Taiao model.
  • Kōrero with Māori land trusts, incorporations and other entities, and discussions with people in the agri-food and fibre sector will contribute to communicating findings and ‘lessons’ in a practical and useful way.
  • A survey of research leaders will help the project team understand their experience interacting with others in the Our Land and Water Challenge.

Research team Te hunga i whai wāhi mai

Science Lead / Quantitative Research
Bill Kaye-Blake
Qualitative Research
Helen Percy
Te Ao Māori Lead
Selai Letica
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Tagata Pasifika
End-User Research
Susie McKeague
McKeague Consulting

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