Te Kūwaha research projects

Find out more about some of our Te Kūwaha-related work.

Our native marine life and ecosystems are vulnerable to non-native marine pests entering our coastal environments. These marine pests have been introduced to Aotearoa on boats arriving at our ports and harbours and can spread easily through ballast water and hull fouling.

For Maniapoto, repo (wetlands) are highly valued as a traditional resource and are an integral component of the ancestral landscape. With only 10% of repo remaining in the Waikato, repo loss and the associated loss of resources and knowledge is a distinct issue for Ngāti Maniapoto.

New Zealand’s freshwater and estuarine resources provide significant cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits. Competition for the use of these resources is intensifying, and many rivers, lakes and estuaries are now degraded. Māori are particularly sensitive to the use and development of freshwater, and hold distinct perspectives concerning their identity, knowledge, and custodial obligations to manage tribal waters.

Māori communities around the country note that the abundance, size and/or distribution of tuna, kōura and kāeo/kākahi is declining and that current populations aren’t sufficient to meet their needs. Māori communities must be actively involved in the sustainable management of these species so their importance is recognised and prioritised in co-management, monitoring and restoration approaches.

NIWA recently hosted visitors from Northland to view cultivated plants from Lake Ōmāpere that are now ‘extinct in the wild’, and discussed plans for their reintroduction to the lake in the future. 

Many of New Zealand's aquatic ecosystems, and their services, are in a degraded and often worsening state. NIWA is involved in research and consultation' aimed at improving the health of our freshwater systems.
NIWA is leading a new six-year research project that seeks to increase our understanding of piharau/kanakana/lamprey, using Mātauranga Māori, social science and biophysical science approaches.
Gathering, eating and sharing wild kai (food) has always been a very important part of Māori culture and wellbeing - this research project aimed to characterise the risks associated with consuming kai collected from rivers, lakes and coastlines.
The Tai Tokerau tipa (scallop) fishery SCA1 is highly valued by commercial, recreational and customary fishers.
Ngā Waihotanga Iho, the estuarine monitoring toolkit for Iwi, has been developed to provide tangata whenua with tools to measure environmental changes in their estuaries. While Ngā Waihotanga Iho is based on sound science principles, it is also underpinned by tangata whenua values.
Using a collaborative case study approach, the aim of this project is to assist tangata whenua to bring together different, yet complementary knowledge systems - distinct Māori knowledge and conventional fisheries and ecosystem information.
The kōaro was once abundant in the Te Arawa lakes near Rotorua in New Zealand’s North Island. NIWA has assessed the viability of restoring this species in the region.
NIWA and the Te Arawa Lakes Trust have developed a sustainable management framework for customary fisheries in Te Arawa lakes, as part of a joint 3 year research programme.