Ahi Kouka i te Ata, He ai i te Pō – The Value of Kouka From a Māori Lens
What mātauranga exists that can support our flora for their continued existence as taonga and how can Māori build their response capability to biological threats on taonga plant species?
This project forms the benchmark for a larger, longer-term project aligned to mātauranga Māori and our traditional flora’s utility, past and present, with a particular emphasis on future management. The project is applying a wholly Māori methodology to learning and understanding the whakapapa of our traditional flora in the first instance, which is considered essential to ensuring their survival against the threats of our contemporary world such as biosecurity challenges and loss of habitat. A resource is being created that is aligned to the whakapapa, mātauranga (traditional and contemporary) and living collections of our food plants which are valued first from a Māori perspective. The resource is designed to direct the future knowledge space related to the plants.
The project is collating traditional knowledge/mātauranga associated with tī kouka within the geographical area known as Mōkai Pātea as an exemplar of the process of consolidating the whakapapa element. This will support additional knowledge activities such as building a species inventory and undertaking initial genomic work to build the scientific understanding of the species from a Māori perspective.