Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

AWMM’s Iwi-led research collaboration

A research programme focused on the Kermadec Islands has been awarded $13.3 million (file photo). Supplied.

Kendall Hutt, Kermadec Islands research programme gets $13.3 million in funding from MBIE, Stuff, 14 September 2020

A joint research programme between Auckland Museum and Ngāti Kuri will focus on Rangitāhua/Kermadec Islands and their biodiversity and ecosystems.

Halfway between mainland New Zealand and Tonga, Rangitāhua is identified as one of only four pristine marine ecosystems on earth that is fully protected and as a result, contains a fully functional ecosystem.

The islands comprise both internationally significant terrestrial nature reserves and one of New Zealand’s largest marine reserves.

The five-year research programme, made possible by $13.3 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund, also has the University of Auckland, Massey University, Niwa and Manaaki Whenua as partners.

Co-led by Auckland Museum’s Tom Trnski and Ngāti Kuri’s Sheridan Waitai, the research programme will combine indigenous knowledge and state-of-the-art ecosystem modelling to create the tools to move from “sustainability” to “thrivability”, they said.


Auckland Museum’s Tom Trnski is co-leading the research programme (file photo). Jason Oxenham/Stuff.

It is a transformative approach to environmental management by reconnecting, reidentifying and restoring the cultural, environmental, scientific and geographical prominence of Rangitāhua.

The research will reportedly better equip New Zealand’s response to pressing issues of climate change and ocean health.

Dr David Gaimster, Auckland Museum’s chief executive, said the unique nature of the research, in partnership with iwi and multiple tertiary institutions, cemented the museum’s position as a research museum.

Waitai said the success of additional funding for the research programme was in part due to the unique strengths of Auckland museum.

She said the museum had supported research at Rangitāhua for a “long time” and had nurtured a collaborative relationship with Ngāti Kuri.

Sheridan Waitai from Ngāti Kuri is co-leading the Rangitāhau research programme with Tom Trnski (file photo). Ricky Wilson/Stuff.

See also: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/science-and-technology/science-and-innovation/funding-information-and-opportunities/investment-funds/endeavour-fund/success-stories/

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