Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:51

Maori tradition, science in study

Written by 

University of Otago researcher has been granted $600,000 over two years to create a low-input farming model combining Maori knowledge and science.

Dr Marion Johnson's project, Indigenous Agroecology (He Ahuwhenua Taketake), will draw upon Matauranga (the Maori knowledge system) to create a unique farming model which values diversity, aligns it with science, and preserves traditional knowledge.

Dr Johnson is a fellow at the university's Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy, Environment.

She will lead a team of researchers aiming to develop an economically viable, multi-functional working model of agricultural stewardship that will supply unique farm products with a low chemical signature, to meet a growing global demand.

"We will be investigating how science can combine with traditional knowledge to achieve the goals of clean water, healthy land, healthy produce and a sustainable resilient farming system," Dr Johnson says.

"We'll record traditional knowledge of land and water management with respect to animal health and mahinga kai (food production), and identify indigenous perspectives on biodiversity, and the recollection of land use. We'll then align scientific methodology with that traditional knowledge to develop and demonstrate a viable farm system."

The project is being funded by Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, one of New Zealand's seven Centres of Research Excellence.

Nga Pae o te Maramatanga has Centre-based researchers as well as researchers located around an extensive national network of participating research entities. It carries out research of relevance to Maori communities, underpinned by the vision to realise the creative potential of Maori communities and to bring about positive change and transformation in New Zealand and wider world. The official launch of this project takes place at the International Indigenous Development Research Conference 2012, June 27-30.

Dr Johnson comes from a farming background, has degrees in Agricultural Science and Environmental Biology, and a master's in Veterinary Parasitology. She has recently completed a research project into using aspects of Te Rongoa (Maori traditional medicine) for farm use.

More like this

Organic focus

Five years after the completion of the Organic Focus Vineyards project, Rebecca Reider reports back on soil monitoring and success stories.

Māori Point Wines

When scientists Marilyn Duxson and John Harris purchased a small section near Wanaka almost 20 years ago, they planned to build a ski holiday house to spend weekends away from Dunedin.

Don’t forget Māori — Editorial

OPINION: Damien O'Connor is never one to shy away from speaking his mind and ruffling a few feathers, and in a nice way he did this at Federated Farmers’ conference last week.

Featured

 

Quality beef bulls wanted

Making quality beef genetics easier for dairy farmers to access is the aim of a new industry partnership.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fat chance

OPINION: This old mutt has always believed that any hopes of a possible free trade deal – that is any…

Health & safety?

OPINION: WorkSafe and workplace safety legislation dominate the daily operations of the private sector, including farms.

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Honda to quit ATVs in Aus

Honda Australia has signalled it will stop selling quads/ATVs in that country as the discussion about the effectiveness of Crush…