New Vision Mātauranga projects for GNS Science - 24/06/2016
GNS Science has been awarded funding for two new projects in the 2016 round of the Government’s Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, which invests in programmes that help iwi development for the benefit of New Zealand.
A third project which is led by Ngāi Tūhoe with support from GNS Science has also been successful in winning funding.
The projects will receive funding of $100,000 each for terms that range from one to two years.
The first project will focus on Aotea, a rare rock containing the blue mineral kyanite, found only in South Westland. Aotea is a special treasure that south Westland iwi Kāti Māhaki have cared for, gathered, traded and gifted for generations.
This will be achieved through learning about the experiences of highly vulnerable Indonesian communities, focusing on hazards that present-day East Coast communities have yet to experience. This particularly refers to severe earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
Aotea is very distinctive in appearance and is potentially of value to science as a tracer of river erosion as it is washed out in river gravels during flood events.
It also has cultural and commercial value to the rūnanga. However, Kāti Māhaki want to understand sustainability of the resource before making any business plans.
Aotea is rarer than Pounamu, although it has a similar origin being formed deep in the Earth's crust. It is treasured for its ornamental value and is carved and worn. It is a softer rock than Pounamu so has not been used as a traditional tool as Pounamu has.
Project leader, Simon Cox of GNS Science, said the programme would bring together both traditional mātauranga Māori and scientific knowledge to inform wise and sustainable management of Aotea.
“The project will do this through a series wānanga, field excursions, and fieldwork hui during the next two years,” Dr Cox said.
By understanding local geology and landscape forming processes, the rūnanga will build confidence, skills and capacity and understand the opportunities of natural resources and the risks of natural hazards.
“It will also encourage rangatahi (young people) to develop interests in both scientific and traditional knowledge,” Dr Cox said.
In another successful project, GNS Science will work with Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and the Gisborne District Council to raise iwi awareness of, and resilience to, natural hazards within their rohe on the North Island’s East Coast.
The project will take place in three phases. The first step will be a compilation of mātauranga Māori and scientific knowledge about natural hazards on the East Coast.
The second phase will see a team from GNS Science, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri visit Indonesia to share indigenous knowledge and experiences of natural hazards.
This project will build iwi capacity in natural hazards and enable more informed engagement with the local council on civil defence and hazard planning matters.
In the third phase, knowledge gained from the earlier compilation and the Indonesian visit will be shared at iwi level through a series of hui, workshops, school teaching modules, and media engagement.
Project co-leader Mike Page, of GNS Science, said the purpose of the Indonesian visit was to heighten iwi awareness of natural hazards and their impact in a cultural context.
“This will be achieved through learning about the experiences of highly vulnerable Indonesian communities, focusing on hazards that present-day East Coast communities have yet to experience. This particularly refers to severe earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.”
Dr Page said awareness of natural hazards was something Indonesians live with on a daily basis and this was incorporated into their music, art, stories, and social fabric, and it would be useful for iwi to experience this first-hand.
“This project will build iwi capacity in natural hazards and enable more informed engagement with the local council on civil defence and hazard planning matters.”
The third project, being led by Ngāi Tūhoe with input from GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington, involves searching for dinosaur and other prehistoric fossils within Te Urewera.
During the two-year project, the three organisations will pursue a greater depth of knowledge of Earth science in Te Urewera.
Now managed by Tūhoe, the former national park is known to contain the same fossil-bearing rock that has yielded dinosaur fossils from nearby areas in the past.
Geologists and paleontologists from GNS Science believe there are more such fossils to be found within Te Urewera.
Tūhoe – Te Uru Taumatua say they look forward to the creative and exploratory opportunities that the project is likely to provide for their young people and communities.
Paleontologist James Crampton and geologist John Begg, both of GNS Science, say the same fossil-bearing rocks in northern Hawke's Bay that have produced so many amazing fossils in recent decades, extend through into Urewera National Park. While mapping the region in the past six years they have seen evidence that there are more fossils from the Cretaceous era (65 to 85 million years ago) waiting to be found.