Whanau Orā News

Project Matauranga series 2 to profile ground-breaking work of Maori scientists

From protecting our national icon, the Kiwi, to working on ground-breaking new treatments in the fight against cancer, Maori scientific innovation is at the forefront of the second series of PROJECT MATAURANGA, on Maori Television.

Presented by Victoria University lecturer Dr Ocean Mercier, the 13-part series is funded by Te Māngai Paho and sponsored by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The series premieres on Monday, 26 August at 8.00pm.

PROJECT MATAURANGA highlights the growth of Maori worldviews within New Zealand’s scientific community and celebrates the people and ideas that are giving our country an edge in the world of science.

Formatted around the structure of an experiment, viewers see problems resolved through the application of Western science and Maori knowledge systems.

As Dr Mercier explains “Our brand of science maybe a little different from Western science but nonetheless it allowed us to work in the world, to be in the world, to live in the world, to survive in the world for generations and thousands of years”.

Tune in to PROJECT MATAURANGA from Monday, August 26 at 8.00pm for an informative, entertaining and inspiring half hour of television that highlights the work of some of our most innovative minds.

Ep. 1 The Problem with Conserving Korowai                                                26th August

Rangi Te Kanawa, a textile conservator at Te Papa Museum, faces the problem of rapid deterioration in dyed harakeke garments.  In order to ensure these precious taonga survive, she’s developing innovative new conservation methods that could be utilised by museums all over the world.

Te Papa Tongarewa /  Victoria University / Maanaki Whenua

Ep. 2 – Restoring the Brown Kiwi                                                                     2nd September

Among the ancient trees of Te Urewera National Park, huge efforts are being made to protect kiwi. The Lake Waikaremoana Hapū Restoration Trust has been reviving the lake side’s brown kiwi population and the methods are being adopted around country.

The Lake Waikaremoana Hapu Restoration Trust / Maanaki Whenua

Ep 3 – Honeydew, the Food of the Ngahere                                                    9th September

Dr Jacquline Beggs takes us on a journey into the life that resides below the surface in the forrest. The native bugs that sustain all life there and are under threat from introduced wasps and the Ngati Awa proffesor walks us through attempts to control them.

Auckland University

Ep. 4 Rotorua Geothermal Field: Protecting a Taonga                                  16th September

The loss of power in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Field had the village members concerned. By forming a partnership with GNS Science and introducing measures to limit access to the resource they hoped they could save the geothermal field and a way of life they’d enjoyed for generations.

Whakarewarewa Thremal Village / GNS Science

Ep. 5 – Toheroa: Rejuvenating a Delicacy                                                        23rd September

Toheroa, a delectable shellfish only found in New Zealand, was once a staple of our diets and one of our first exports. However a severe drop in numbers, due to overharvesting, saw a total ban put in place. We look at the effort to rejuvenate the Toheroa population Northland.


Ep. 6 – The Sea Cucumber: Innovation in Iwi Exports                                      30th September

The sea cucumber has never been a part of our diet but in China it’s considered a delicacy. We investigate Whakatohea scientist, Kimberley Maxwell’s attempt to cultivate these unusual sea creatures for the export market.

Wakatu Incorporation / Whakatohea Maori Trust Board

Ep. 7 – Taewa                                                                                                         7th October

The psyllid pest costs our commercial potato industry millions in lost export earnings. The Taewa Resistance Research Project being undertaken by Te Ati Awa researcher Aleise Puketapu hopes to find resistance to the psylid in one of the many Māori potato varieties.

Plant and Food Research – Massey University – Tahuri Whenua

Ep. 8 – Tatai Arorangi : Revitalising Maori Astronomy                                        14th October

Pre-European Māori incorporated a vast amount of astronomical knowledge into their lives, but much has been lost. SMART the Society of Māori Astronomy, Research and Traditions are revitalising this knowledge system and inspiring the next generation to look to the stars for inspiration.

Victoria University – SMART

Ep. 9 – Sea sponge: A Cancer Treatment from Tangaroa                                      21st October

In 1991 a new species of marine sponge was collected which contained a previously unknown chemical with potent biological properties. Ngāti Porou Chemist Hemi Cummings, is looking to synthesize this chemical in the lab as a potential treatment for cancer.

Victoria University

Ep. 10 – Kauri Dieback : Death in the Ngāhere                                                      28th October

The iconic Kauri is under threat from Kauri Dieback, a disease that kills every Kauri that contracts it. We look at the steps being taken to address the spread of a disease that could decimate the iconic forests of the North and push this giant of the ngahere to the brink of extinction.

Auckland City Council – Department of Conservation – Maanaki Whanua – Plant & Food

Ep. 11 – Nga Waihotanga Iho: An estuarine monitoring toolkit for iwi               4th November

Estuaries integrate and accumulate the effects of activities on the land. Ngā Waihotanga Iho, the estuarine monitoring toolkit for iwi, has been developed to empower tangata whenua with tools to measure environmental changes in their estuaries.


Ep. 12 – The Rena Disaster: Measuring the impact on mauri                            11th November

An important aspect of the Governments Long-Term Environmental Recovery Plan after the Rena disaster is to assess the impact from a cultural perspective. Ngati Pikiao’s Dr Kepa Morgan has developed a scientific method for measuring mauri, we look at its application in assessing the worst environmental maritime disaster in our nations history.

Auckland University – Ngāti Makino Iwi Authority

Ep. 13 – Conservation of Pare 5168                                                                    18th November

In the 1980’s a Pare in Auckland Museums carving collection fell and shattered. We follow its painstaking rebuild in a project that brought together conservationists from Auckland museum and carvers Bernard Makore and Lyonel Grant. Through their meticulous work they rebuilt both a taonga and its history.

Auckland Museum

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