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Te Ao Māori projects

Misty hills landscape

Genomics Aotearoa is committed to developing genomics infrastructure that acknowledges the importance of Te Ao Māori, and builds genomics capability and capacity within Māori communities and organisations.  Through the Indigenous Genomics Platform (IGP) it is creating infrastructure that provides more than a technical platform for use by researchers, and instead offers a framework that supports Māori participants – whether as researchers, students, partners or end-users.

Current Te Ao Māori projects

Kauri dieback detection – developing real time, point-of-need surveillance: Monitoring for the organism causing kauri dieback in Aotearoa New Zealand is critical, but also difficult; it is slow and expensive and involves removing soils from ngahere [forests]. Developing a point-of-need test for Phytophthora agathidicida, the pathogen responsible for kauri dieback, would place much-needed technology in the hands of communities, be faster, reduce costs, provide more effective monitoring, and avoid removing soils.  

Detection of species and hybrids in Ngā Roimata ō Tōhe, Pimelea eremiticaThe only known wild population of Ngā roimata ō Tōhe -  a taonga species of Te Roroa - is found on an exposed summit on the west coast of Te Taitokerau. This project is identifying how many unique individuals of Ngā Roimata ō Tōhe exist in cultivation and in the remaining wild population, as well as determining whether there are any potential hybrids with other Pimelea species. 

Molecular characterisation of Māori traditional root crops in Aotearoa as an insurance policy for food security; He wae kai pakiaka (a grounded solution)This project is aimed at attaining food security through supporting kaitiaki, building Māori capability and future opportunity in the horticulture sector by documenting and managing historical and heritage crops and food sources aligned to Māori.

Ko wai ngā rākau rangatira pōhutukawa o Mauao? Building agile and informed kaitiaki biosecurity on the maunga: Myrtle rust is affecting Mauao’s native pōhutukawa population. This project will utilise genomics to understand pōhutukawa whakapapa and determine the status of individual pōhutukawa trees as either native or introduced to Mauao. 

Phylogenetic and Transcriptomic Analysis of Kawakawa for Rongoā and KaitiakitangaThis project seeks to add genomics information to the rich existing mātauranga on kawakawa to deepen kaitiaki understanding of this taonga.

Genomic resources for selective breeding of kingfish/haku: Generating a high-quality genome assembly for kingfish to evaluate the genomic structure and connectivity of wild kingfish populations, and to develop a data and Intellectual Property management framework.

Realising the potential of genomics for swamp maire replanting in the Rangitāne rohe: increasing understanding of genetic diversity and capacity for adaptation to inform a restoration model for the Manawatū that is underpinned by local mātauranga and genomics.   

Sharing the benefits of genomics: this project aims to better understand the genomic basis of productivity traits of high-value marine species.

Ruatau: Connecting Māori genomic scientists with Māori communities, this project brings community and kaipūtaiao (Māori scientists) together in genomics focused wānanga.  Reciprocal knowledge sharing reflects the tuakana-teina relationship – increasing genomics understanding for hapori Māori while also increasing cultural competency and whakapapa connections for kaipūtaiao.   

Completed Te Ao Māori projects

Te nohonga kaitiaki: this project developed culturally informed ethical guidelines to connect Māori concepts and expectations of kaitiakitanga to the context of genomics.