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Associate Professor Priscilla Wehi

Associate Professor
Incoming Director Te Pūnaha Matatini Centre of Research Excellence in Complex Systems

Priscilla Wehi image 2020Tel +64 3 479 5230
Email priscilla.wehi@otago.ac.nz
Website priscillawehi.com

Ko te pae tawhiti whāia kia tata
ko te pae tata whakamaua kia tina

Seek out distant horizons, and cherish those you attain

Research background

Priscilla is a conservation biologist whose research has two main research themes: first, ecological knowledge; evolutionary ecology, and especially foraging behaviour, including isotope and nutrient analyses of diet; and secondly, socioecological relationships, including cultural environmental management.

She frequently works on human-nature relationships, including biocultural diversity and past, present and future Indigenous environmental relationships. She also works on introduced species that challenge native ecosystems, insect ecology and behaviour, in particular the sexually dimorphic New Zealand tree wētā genus Hemideina spp.

She explores the relationship between conservation biology and mātauranga from her lived experience in extended whānau communities of Waikato, Ngāpuhi nui tonu and Tūhoe while also drawing from her roots as a New Zealand woman with Scottish clan origins. Current work includes building an inter-disciplinary team to explore Māori philosophical frameworks in relation to Antarctica in her role as Leader of the Vision Mātauranga programme in research exploring the effectiveness of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area.

Priscilla supports cultural change and builds inclusivity in science to create broad platforms for intellectual advancement. In 2020 she received an Inspirational Alumna Award from the School of biological Sciences, University of Canterbury.

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Current and recent research projects

  • Ross Sea Research and Monitoring Programme (Ross-RAMP): is the world’s largest MPA effective?
  • Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Royal Society of New Zealand. Indigenous ecological knowledge, introduced species and the new New Zealand environment.
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Significant Publications

Wehi PM, van Uitregt V, Scott N, Gillies T, Beckwith J, Rodgers RP & Watene K. (in review). Transforming Antarctic policy and management with an Indigenous Māori lens.

Wehi PM, Brownstein G & Morgan-Richards M 2020. Indigenous plant naming and experimentation reveal a plant-insect relationship in New Zealand forests. Conservation Science and Practice e282.

Wehi PM, Cox MP, Roa T & Whaanga H 2018. Human perceptions revealed by linguistic analysis of Māori oral traditions. Human Ecology 2018: 1–10.

Wehi PM 2009. Indigenous ancestral sayings contribute to modern conservation partnerships: examples using Phormium tenax. Ecological Applications 19:267–275

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Publications

Wehi, P., Whaanga, H., Watene, K., & Steeves, T. (2021). Mātauranga as knowledge, process and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. In T. F. Thornton & S. A. Bhagwat (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of indigenous environmental knowledge. (pp. 186-197). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315270845

Hall, M. M., Wehi, P. M., Whaanga, H., Walker, E. T., Koia, J. H., & Wallace, K. J. (2021). Promoting social and environmental justice to support Indigenous partnerships in urban ecosystem restoration [Re-new (opinion) article]. Restoration Ecology, 29(1), e13305. doi: 10.1111/rec.13305

Wehi, P. M., van Uitregt, V., Scott, N. J., Gillies, T., Beckwith, J., Rodgers, R. P., & Watene, K. (2021). Transforming Antarctic management and policy with an Indigenous Māori lens. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1038/s41559-021-01466-4

Wehi, P., Hetaraka, T. W., Hetaraka, P., York, J., & Robinson, F. (2021). Research within indigenous frameworks. Proceedings of the New Zealand Antarctic Science Conference: Connecting through change. (pp. 91). Retrieved from https://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/nzasc21

Wehi, P. (2021, January). Uplifting our tamariki in science: Research examples in chemistry and ecology. Verbal presentation at the Utaina! K ngā hua pūtaiao i te reo Māori, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Commissioned Report for External Body

Bioethics panel, including Ellis, L., Knight, J., Maclaurin, J., & Wehi, P. (2019). Predator free New Zealand: Social, cultural, and ethical challenges. Commissioned by BioHeritage Challenge. 26p. Retrieved from http://www.biologicalheritage.nz/

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Chapter in Book - Research

Wehi, P., Whaanga, H., Watene, K., & Steeves, T. (2021). Mātauranga as knowledge, process and practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. In T. F. Thornton & S. A. Bhagwat (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of indigenous environmental knowledge. (pp. 186-197). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315270845

Whaanga, H., & Wehi, P. (2015). Te Wawao I Te Mātauranga Māori: Indigenous knowledge in a digital age: Issues and ethics of knowledge management and knowledge exchange in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In R. E. Rinehart, E. Emerald & R. Matamua (Eds.), Ethnographies in pan Pacific research: Tensions and positionings. (pp. 231-250). New York, NY: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315718927

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Journal - Research Article

Wehi, P. M., Brownstein, G., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2020). Indigenous plant naming and experimentation reveal a plant-insect relationship in New Zealand forests. Conservation Science & Practice, 2, e282. doi: 10.1111/csp2.282

Parli, A., Besson, A., Wehi, P., & Johnson, S. (2020). Sub-lethal exposure to a mammalian pesticide bait alters behaviour in an orthopteran. Journal of Insect Conservation, 24, 536-546. doi: 10.1007/s10841-020-00222-6

Ricardo, H., Wilson, D. J., & Wehi, P. M. (2020). Kiore (Rattus exulans) distribution and relative abundance on a small highly modified island. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 47(4), 350-359. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2020.1785515

Walker, E. T., Wehi, P. M., Nelson, N. J., Beggs, J. R., & Whaanga, H. (2019). Kaitiakitanga, place and the urban restoration agenda. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 43(3), 3381. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.43.34

Cisternas, J., Wehi, P. M., Haupokia, N., Hughes, F., Hughes, M., Germano, J. M., Longnecker, N., & Bishop, P. J. (2019). 'Get together, work together, write together': A novel framework for conservation of New Zealand frogs. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 43(3), 3392. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.43.32

Bond, M. O., Anderson, B. J., Henare, T. H. A., & Wehi, P. (2019). Effects of climatically shifting species distributions on biocultural relationships. People & Nature, 1, 87-102. doi: 10.1002/pan3.15

Wehi, P. M., Beggs, J. R., & Anderson, B. J. (2019). Leadership and diversity in the New Zealand Ecological Society. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 43(2), 3368. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.43.16

Wehi, P. M., Carter, L., Harawira, T. W., Fitzgerald, G., Lloyd, K., Whaanga, H., & MacLeod, C. J. (2019). Enhancing awareness and adoption of cultural values through use of Māori bird names in science communication and environmental reporting. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 43(3), 3387. doi: 10.20417/nzjecol.43.35

Wehi, P. M., Cox, M. P., Roa, T., & Whaanga, H. (2018). Human perceptions of megafaunal extinction events revealed by linguistic analysis of indigenous oral traditions. Human Ecology, 46(4), 461-470. doi: 10.1007/s10745-018-0004-0

Brown, M. B. G. J., Gemmill, C. E. C., Miller, S., & Wehi, P. M. (2018). Diet selectivity in a terrestrial forest invertebrate, the Auckland tree wētā, across three habitat zones. Ecology & Evolution, 8(5), 2495-2503. doi: 10.1002/ece3.3763

Whaanga, H., Wehi, P., Cox, M., Roa, T., & Kusabs, I. (2018). Māori oral traditions record and convey indigenous knowledge of marine and freshwater resources. New Zealand Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research, 52(4), 487-496. doi: 10.1080/00288330.2018.1488749

Wehi, P. M., & Lord, J. M. (2017). Importance of including cultural practices in ecological restoration. Conservation Biology, 31(5), 1109-1118. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12915

Wehi, P. M., Monks, A., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2017). Male tree weta are attracted to cuticular scent cues but do not discriminate according to sex or among two closely related species. Ethology, 123, 825-834. doi: 10.1111/eth.12652

Morgan, D. K. J., Clapperton, B. K., Gillanders, J. A., & Wehi, P. M. (2017). The palatability of undyed carrot surface-coated with repellents, or dyed blue or green to a terrestrial macroinvertebrate. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 44(3), 212-224. doi: 10.1080/03014223.2017.1289473

Jacob, S., Wehi, P., Clobert, J., Legrand, D., Schtickzelle, N., Huet, M., & Chaine, A. (2016). Cooperation-mediated plasticity in dispersal and colonization. Evolution, 70(10), 2336-2345. doi: 10.1111/evo.13028

Wehi, P. M., Jorgensen, M., & Morgan, D. K. J. (2015). Predictors of relative abundance of tree weta (Hemideina thoracica) in an urban forest remnant. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 39(2), 280-285.

Wehi, P., Anderson, B. J., & Haines, E. (2014). Participation in the Science Fair: A call for data. New Zealand Science Review, 71(4), 104-107.

Wehi, P. M., Jorgensen, M., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2013). Sex- and season-dependent behaviour in a flightless insect, the Auckland tree weta (Hemideina thoracica). New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 37(1), 75-83.

Wehi, P. M., Raubenheimer, D., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2013). Tolerance for nutrient imbalance in an intermittently feeding herbivorous cricket, the Wellington tree weta. PLoS ONE, 8(12), e84641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084641

Wehi, P., Cox, M., Roa, T., & Whaanga, H. (2013). Marine resources in Māori oral tradition: He kai moana, he kai mā te hinengaro. Journal of Marine & Island Cultures, 2(2), 59-68. doi: 10.1016/j.imic.2013.11.006

Whaanga, H., Papa, W., Wehi, P., & Roa, T. (2013). The use of the Māori language in species nomenclature. Journal of Marine & Island Cultures, 2(2), 78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.imic.2013.11.007

MacKay, D. B., Wehi, P. M., & Clarkson, B. D. (2011). Evaluating restoration success in urban forest plantings in Hamilton, New Zealand. Urban Habitats, 6. Retrieved from http://www.urbanhabitats.org

Wehi, P. M., Nakagawa, S., Trewick, S. A., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2011). Does predation result in adult sex ratio skew in a sexually dimorphic insect genus? Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24(11), 2321-2328. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02366.x

Wehi, P. M., & Hicks, B. J. (2010). Isotopic fractionation in a large herbivorous insect, the Auckland tree weta. Journal of Insect Physiology, 56, 1877-1882. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.08.005

Wehi, P. M., & Wehi, W. L. (2010). Traditional plant harvesting in contemporary fragmented and urban landscapes. Conservation Biology, 24(2), 594-604. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01376.x

Wehi, P. M. (2009). Indigenous ancestral sayings contribute to modern conservation partnerships: Examples using Phormium tenax. Ecological Applications, 19(1), 267-275. doi: 10.1890/07-1693.1

Clarkson, B. D., Wehi, P. M., & Brabyn, L. K. (2007). A spatial analysis of indigenous cover patterns and implications for ecological restoration in urban centres, New Zealand. Urban Ecosystems, 10, 441-457. doi: 10.1007/s11252-007-0035-6

Wehi, P. M., Barrell, G. K., & Hickling, G. J. (2006). Hormonal correlates of social rank in an asocial species, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Ethology, 112, 639-648. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2005.01185.x

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Journal - Research Other

Hall, M. M., Wehi, P. M., Whaanga, H., Walker, E. T., Koia, J. H., & Wallace, K. J. (2021). Promoting social and environmental justice to support Indigenous partnerships in urban ecosystem restoration [Re-new (opinion) article]. Restoration Ecology, 29(1), e13305. doi: 10.1111/rec.13305

Wehi, P. M., van Uitregt, V., Scott, N. J., Gillies, T., Beckwith, J., Rodgers, R. P., & Watene, K. (2021). Transforming Antarctic management and policy with an Indigenous Māori lens. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1038/s41559-021-01466-4

Whaanga, H., & Wehi, P. (2017). Rāhui and conservation? Māori voices in the nineteenth century niupepa Māori [Short communication]. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 47(1), 100-106. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2016.1252408

Wehi, P. M., Whaanga, H., & Trewick, S. A. (2012). Artefacts, biology and bias in museum collection research. Molecular Ecology, 21, 3103-3109. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05589.x

Wehi, P. M., & Clarkson, B. D. (2007). Biological flora of New Zealand 10: Phormium tenax, harakeke, New Zealand flax. New Zealand Journal of Botany, 45(4), 521-544. doi: 10.1080/00288250709509737

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Wehi, P., Hetaraka, T. W., Hetaraka, P., York, J., & Robinson, F. (2021). Research within indigenous frameworks. Proceedings of the New Zealand Antarctic Science Conference: Connecting through change. (pp. 91). Retrieved from https://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/nzasc21

Cisternas, J., Wehi, P. M., Germano, J. M., Bishop, P. J., & Longnecker, N. (2018). Key elements for communication and strengthening of the relationship: First steps to develop bicultural partnerships for amphibian conservation in New Zealand. Proceedings of the 15th International Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST) Conference. (pp. 143-144). Retrieved from https://pcst.co/conferences

Yee, G., Ingram, T., & Wehi, P. (2018). The fight for coexistence: Niche partitioning between Chatham Island kiore (Rattus exulans) and ship rats (R. rattus). Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (NZES) Conference. Retrieved from https://newzealandecology.org

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Johnson, M., Hudson, M., Lord, J., Wehi, C., Whaanga-Schollum, D., Champeau, O., & Ataria, J. (2013, January). Indigenous Agroecology: Agricultural stewardship and conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Poster session presented at the VII Southern Connection Congress: Southern Lands and Southern Oceans: Life on the Edge?, Dunedin, New Zealand.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Wehi, P. (2021, January). Uplifting our tamariki in science: Research examples in chemistry and ecology. Verbal presentation at the Utaina! K ngā hua pūtaiao i te reo Māori, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Wehi, P., Mistral, M., Raubenheimer, D., & Morgan-Richards, M. (2013, January). Adaptive foraging in a giant alpine insect, the Otago stone weta. Verbal presentation at the VII Southern Connection Congress: Southern Lands and Southern Oceans: Life on the Edge? Dunedin, New Zealand.

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