Whakahonotia Ngā Taonga Rerekē – Exploring Māori Values and Uses of Ecological Bio-control Agents

Project commenced:

What values do Māori use to shape their views around the use of bio-control agents to control both exotic and Indigenous species and to values, and how to they assign risk posed by the introduction of a bio-control agent and when is it deemed unacceptable?

This project is examining Māori views on the contemporary use of biocontrol agents and exploring the potential for mātauranga Māori to guide pre-screening introduction as well as the development of Indigenous bio-controls. By asking whether there are potential Indigenous biocontrol agents or associated tikanga that Māori can explore and develop, that could be used in preference to introduced bio-control agents and current technical methods of management, the project will address public concern about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides and an increased demand for sustainable ways to control pests in nature and agriculture.

Bio-control has been extensively used throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to control a variety of pests and weeds (eg. grass grub, Chinese privet and Japanese honeysuckle) and while Māori do support exploring their own bio-control agents, concerns remain about the lack of supporting information regarding taonga species and an absence of the inclusion of Mātauranga Māori and tikanga in the development and use of introduced bio-control agents, screening methods or the measurement and weighting of uncertainty.

This project is advancing our understanding of the Māori world view and how Mātauranga solutions might underpin the use of bio-control agents, all with the aim of minimising risks to taonga and developing stronger socio-ecological links and expressions of Māori values.

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