Lincoln Agritech has been awarded Government funding for two science programmes.
These programmes will grow skills and capacity for Māori participation in science and innovation and support outcomes that benefit New Zealand. Administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Lincoln Agritech’s successful projects focus on mentoring individuals and collaborating with Kāi Tahu (Otago) and Ngāi Tahu (Canterbury) on environmental planning, land use and water quality issues.
The Otago-based project, titled “Otago Rūnanga responses to changing mahinga kai and regional water policy conditions” partners with Kāi Tahu ki Otago (KTKO) Ltd, an iwi-based consultancy that serves the interests of four Otago Rūnanga: Te Rūnanga o Moeraki, Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki, Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Hokonui Rūnanga. One of KTKO’s core functions is to support Kāi Tahu environmental and cultural aspirations in statutory processes.
In this collaborative project, Lincoln Agritech aims to strengthen the capability of KTKO to participate in science-informed processes and resource management decisions relating to land use, water quality and effect on mahinga kai values. Lincoln Agritech will provide mentoring and learning opportunities for a young KTKO Māori scientist to undertake a two year part-time secondment position split between Dunedin and Lincoln. Lincoln Agritech also aims to improve staff understanding of Kāi Tahu environmental values and tikanga, and Māori freshwater values generally. This joint research programme will investigate and identify the effects of water quality on traditional food gathering in fresh waterways with particular focus on fresh water species such as tuna (eels), inanga (whitebait), kakakana (lampreys) and puha (watercress).
The Canterbury-based project, titled “Innovation to improve both the mauri and life-supporting capacity of ground water” is a collaborative project with the Te Taumutu Runanga of Ngai Tahu and Mahaanui Kurataiao Limited who represent five Ngai Tahu Runanga. This project aims to connect Te Taumutu/ Ngāi Tahu with Lincoln Agritech Ltd and the National Science Challenge, Science for Technological Innovation. One of the Challenge portfolios, Agricultural and Environmental Technologies is managed through Lincoln Agritech Ltd, along with spearhead project, Inverting Electromagnetics - a new way to measure groundwater flow.
Specifically, the Vision Mātauranga project aims to facilitate incorporating mātauranga Māori, and enable partnership with mana whenua around the delivery of Inverting Electromagnetics. The project involves scientists from throughout NZ researching a new method to measure ground water velocity, with the aim of using Te Waihora, New Zealand’s fourth biggest lake, as a test site.
Modelling groundwater is important as it is involved in contaminant transfer from land to stream to lake bodies. The scientists will collaborate with Te Taumutu/ Ngāi Tahu to share research information and Te Taumutu/ Ngāi Tahu will help the scientists to develop and understand Māori values and tikanga.
These Vision Mātauranga grants will enable Lincoln Agritech to connect with iwi and deepen their understanding of indigenous innovation and matāuranga.
Image: New Zealand native eel, photography by Mark Ewington.