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Te Hononga o nga Ao: Joining science and matauranga for ecosystem co-management

Principal investigator:Professor Henrik Moller

Staff involved: Henrik Moller, Jamie Newman (Wekaworks), Sam McKechnie (RA)

Brief abstract

Te Hononga o nga Ao ('the joining of worlds') aimed to ensure the sustainability of Tītī (muttonbird) harvest management through better partnering of matauranga and science. This last year of a 14 year Kia Mau Te Tītī Mo Ake Tonu Atu project sought to maximise uptake of research results and support the Rakiura Māori community to decide how it can best respond to climate change impacts and increasing numbers of people with birding rights.

The research combined projections of a burgeoning Rakiura Māori population with computer simulation models of the way declining Tītī populations will respond to several options of harvest management and outcomes, including:

  • Reducing Tītī harvest pressure
  • Eradication of rats and weka from breeding islands
  • Elimination of most artificial mortality in Korean and Japanese drift-net fisheries (this was achieved in 1991 but long-term demographic effects are still being felt)
  • Long-term impacts of climate change on the intensity and frequency of El Niño events.

Reliability of the science predictions about harvest sustainability were peer reviewed first by Rakiura Māori using matauranga Māori; and then by the international science community through evaluation of scientific papers. Research results have been disseminated to relevant end users through technical and non-technical reports on the project website and Tītī Times, the project's newsletter. The latter is sent to around 1400 whanau, researchers, government agencies and national policy makers that engage in cross-cultural environmental management and research.

Funder: Ministry of Science & Innovation (MSI)

Total contract value: $183,334

Start date: July 2007-September 2008

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