This research project evaluated and monitored the environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts of the grounding of the ship Rena on Otaiti, with a particular focus on the impacted areas of Maketū, Mōtītī, and Pāpāmoa. The research team led by Dr Kepa Morgan incorporated an assessment of the mauri of the impacted people within these areas and their environs. Mauri is a universal concept in Māori thinking and is the force between the physical and spiritual attributes of something. An improved understanding of the mauri impacts of this event and how iwi and hapū are responding provided the basis for an evaluation of the contribution of mātauranga Māori in each context, informing disaster response thinking and contributing to the increased resilience of iwi and hapū. The iwi focus was led by Te Arawa Ki Tai (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Makino, Ngāti Whakaue, Waitaha, Tapuika, Ngāti Whakahemo and Ngāti Rangitihi) with other iwi invited to participate as and when their representatives confirmed.
This research adds to existing knowledge by integrating the indigenous wisdom and scientific understandings of the Rena disaster. Currently the two bodies of knowledge sit alongside each other, but have little meaningful interaction.