These projects show how the work and hopes of our Māori partners endures through our research, science and innovation.

Prioritising well-being in Papakainga Housing

Much of the housing affordability discussion centres on supply and demand of houses, land cost and availability, and finance and regulatory processes. Too often, ‘affordability’ is not considered from a quality and building life-cycle perspective. Instead it is linked solely to construction and compliance costs and thus dissociated from high-quality construction, building performance, and human health and well-being.

“Toitū te Kainga, Toitū te Ora, Toitū te Tangata” (Healthy Homes, Healthy People) was a collaborative project funded by the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge (MBIE) and led by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Built on the Matekuare Trust’s plans for papakainga development on ancestral whenua at Tāwhitiwhiti, Te Whaiti, Eastern Bay of Plenty, the project aimed to develop modular prefabricated housing design and construction solutions that would improve life-time affordability and provide a high-quality indoor environment for the health and well-being of the Matekuare Whānau.

Scion applied building physics principles and used hygrothermal (heat and moisture flows) modelling targeting healthy indoor living parameters to optimise the thermal envelope of the innovative Tallwood prefabricated construction system. The collaboration between Scion, Tallwood and the Toi Ohomai construction team lead to mock-ups (models) used to test the buildability of the proposed housing plans. The results of the hygrothermal modelling and the mock-ups, together with the indoor quality and health monitoring conducted by Toi Ohomai and Unitec, were shared with the whānau in a series of hui and wananga.

“The concept of papākainga began as a dream of the Matekuare Trust, but is fast becoming a reality. With the research team’s support, the original ideas from whānau have been converted into a formally planned village that is now laid out on the ground, with some services in place. Tallwood, Scion and Toi Ohomai have created and tested plans for housing that will be healthy, genuinely affordable over a life time, while still functioning efficiently in the extreme conditions in the region. It’s something that whanau across the country deserve to know about.” Hinerangi and Tony Goodman on behalf of Matekuare Whanau.

Partners: Matekuare Trust and Toi Ohomai

Kaunaki Korero Tua Teru: Building science capability to contribute to a sustainable Chatham Islands

What can New Zealand learn from carrying out a waste stocktake on Rekohu (the big island in the Chathams archipelago) as we establish a national bio-circular economy?

A Vision Mātauranga Capability Funded (MBIE) project made good progress towards developing a Rēkohu waste resource map of the current and expected future state. Through the project, circular economy principles and drivers are demonstrated to the Rēkohu community leading to improved understanding and practice of tracking, waste management and utilisation. Rēkohu stakeholders will be linked to current mainland waste reuse, recycling and reduction initiatives.

This immersion in circular economy-related science and technology will benefit the Hokotehi Moriori Trust, the Rēkohu community by enabling future research or implementing projects for Moriori businesses in the move towards a circular/zero-carbon economy model. The project will also develop the science capability of Harina Rupāpera (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāruahinerangi) he pukenga mo ngā mahi para kore (a developing specialist in waste minimisation).

Partners: Hokotehi Moriori Trust and the Chatham Islands community

Marc Gaugler (Materials & Polymer Scientist) talks to Maui Solomon (Chair Hokotehi Moriori Trust) about reprocessing options for nylon rope debris washed up on the Chatham Island coastline.

Te Urunga o Kea: A Climate Change Strategy for Te Arawa

Hui were held with key strategic stakeholders and with local, regional, national and international individuals and collectives. A scoping exercise over the past year found no current iwi climate change strategies in the region developed by Te Arawa interest groups. More recently, the Eastern Bay of Plenty Regional Council released a draft climate change strategy for comment.

At localised levels, particularly amongst marae and hapū groups, strategies are emerging. Discussions included climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (marae preparedness), establishing and strengthening alliances, social mobilisation through education, creative and youth initiatives, exploring circular economies, land use change and biodiversity.

From these discussions a Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy was developed and includes research priorities. The strategy document reached first draft stage and is currently under review with iwi strategy expertise.

A highlight of the year was the Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy Team, led by Scion’s Marie McCarthy and supported by iwi researcher Lani Kereopa, receiving a gold status award from MBIE, the funder.

Partners: Te Arawa Climate Change Working Party

One billion trees science and kaupapa Māori-Moriori partnerships

Over $20 million in One Billion Trees Partnerships funding was applied for in the last 12 months with the support of Scion. Partnering trusts and communities have received $7 million to date.

These partnerships provide evidence-based insights and are developing the valuable contributions made by matauranga and science to the success of the Government’s flagship tree planting programme. In coming years, the impact of these partnerships will be measured not only in seedlings planted but also directly to 200+ new jobs, accelerated seedling production, increased survival rates of planted seedlings, new high-value indigenous forestry value chains and improving the decisions of landowners and funders.

Nursery Research Scientist Craig Ford discusses indigenous coastal grass propagation with Maui Solomon of the Hokotehi Moriori Trust.

Forests for whenua Māori

The new website to support Māori landowner decision-making and whenua Māori applications includes fact sheets for carbon, timber and diversified-mixed product forests co-developed by Scion for Māori land use.

Scion worked with Te Puni Kokiri project managers to design information flow for the website, which was launched in March 2020. Scion supports Te Puni Kokiri’s work to put land use development information in one place.

Partner: Te Puni Kokiri

Tane’s tamariki

Over 100 children flooded the Scion campus last October to enjoy the final instalment of a forestry science learning programme funded by MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds fund. The programme was open to tamariki from shareholder whanau of forestry trusts from across Rotorua and Taupō districts.

During the eight-day school-holiday programme the students learned about the lifecycle of tuna (eels), toured a geothermal electricity generation plant, flew drones, experimented with dry-ice, wrote letters to Papatuanuku and landowners, learnt how trees reproduce and filter forests, built robots for scrimmage and protected forests against disease. They also planted kumara tipu (runners) in a mara kai (garden) from which over 50 kilograms of tubers were harvested in February.

Relationships were strengthened with the partnering trusts as well as Te Rangihakahaka School of Science, Whakarewarewa School, Contact Energy Wairakei Geothermal Plant, Ngāti Hikairo Tuna Restoration and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi. A golden tōtara sapling was gifted by Lake Taupō Charitable Trust to commemorate the STEM relationship between the science community and the children.

Partners: Lake Taupō Charitable Trust, Lake Taupō Forests Trust

Filtering water through forest carbon at Scion.

Kāuta: He hononga mo te tangata manaaki (Traditional hearths: Bringing people together)

Once central to Māori hospitality and hosting, the traditional marae kitchen has all but vanished from Māori culture and our New Zealand heritage owing to non-compliance with building regulations.

This project aims to reinstate kāuta traditions by calling on the living memory of kaumātua who were raised with this tradition and the tikanga that embraced it. At the time of writing, close to 40 interviews were completed and a video narrative was being planned.

Waitangi Woods, who leads the science capability project on behalf of the hapû, said “We were surprised to learn that even 50-year-olds had no memory of kāuta on marae, so working with the expertise and networks of Scion as a FENZ adviser to reinstate the mātauranga of a cookery as a safe and justifiable hospitality space has been very satisfying for us.”

In the next stage, kāuta specifications that meet New Zealand’s flame-heat regulations and building standards will be written and tested on new kāuta building plans. The project is due to end in 2021.

Partner: Tau Iho o te Po Trust and kaitiaki in Kaipara and Northland

Rēwena bread packaging

Scion introduced Koa Holdings Ltd to Massey University and helped draft a successful Vision Mātauranga Capability Funding application. Underway since June 2019, the project is developing the science capability between the Māori partner and the two research institutions.

The project aims to scale up the production of rēwena bread, develop a Māori-led DNA-supported provenance and devise a novel food packaging solution. This is a circular project that combines the expertise of mātauranga Māori with science to revitalise Māori kai traditions.

Partners: Koa Holdings Ltd and Massey University’s School of Food and Advanced Technology

Healthy Trees, Healthy Future

The year saw the end of the six-year “Healthy trees, healthy future: Enabling technologies to combat Phytophthora diseases” programme.

The multi-organisation team says New Zealand is now better able to respond to the threat of the Phytophthora pathogens that are affecting trees in horticulture, forest plantations and natural ecosystems thanks to the protocols, baseline data, inoculation systems, analysis pipelines, modelling capacity and germplasm resources they established.

Part of the programme led the establishment of a kauri seed collection from hundreds of mature trees across the range of kauri. Working with 14 mana whenua groups from Kaitaia to Tauranga, the team created a significant resource for future screening and kauri research. While the HTHF programme has finished, the relationships and the work have not.

During this year, the team found the exciting result that there appears to be widespread tolerance to kauri dieback among the trees we could test. Scion is continuing discussions with mana whenua to determine the desired priorities for the next phase of work.

The model of Māori engagement within the programme was recognised by both the research partners and the mana whenua partners as a new way of working in biosecurity and specifically in the kauri dieback space. The science translation and cross-cultural relationships built up during the programme will endure into the future and contribute to long-term solutions to protect New Zealand’s precious tree species.

Partners: Healthy trees, healthy future (HTHF) kauri dieback mana whenua