Kua takoto te mānuka: mātauranga Māori in New Zealand ecology
Matauranga Maori, a knowledge system incorporating Maori philosophical thought, worldview and practice, provides important insight and practice and is vital for understanding and managing Aotearoa New Zealand’s ecosystems. Yet, until recently, it has remained largely invisible to mainstream ecologists and resource managers in Aotearoa. Partnering with Maori and incorporating matauranga into ecological research offers an additional dimension to neoclassical science, which we argue leads to better outcomes for society and the environment. This special issue brings together 13 papers that highlight key concepts and provide exemplars of good practice, which demonstrate development of authentic, long-term partnerships with Maori.
The special issue itself has provided space for such scholarship, which does not necessarily align with western ideas of science, and has fostered the use of the Maori language by all papers having abstracts published in te reo Maori. Importantly, one of the key aims of this special issue is to stimulate further activity and research in this area. We contend that further research in this area will not only support Maori environmental and social aspirations but will also lead to holistic, enduring solutions for managing the unique biodiversity and ecosystems in Aotearoa. The challenge ahead for ecologists is to develop more widespread and effective partnerships with Maori and deeper understandings of matauranga Maori.