Is harakeke one key to a sustainable future for Aotearoa and, if it is, how do we utilise it to develop this sustainable future?

This project is examining the interface between mātauranga Māori and ecological science related to harakeke. The case study focuses on Lake Whakaki, in the northern Hawke’s Bay, and explores what the current ecological condition of the lake is, how much the ecosystem has been modified, how sites dominated by harakeke differ from sites where harakeke was removed in the past, to what extent harakeke might restore/protect normal ecological function in Whakaki, and whether replanting harakeke can reverse the degradation of freshwater and adjacent environments.

In the context of a wider programme, these ecologically focused questions then transition to socially focused lines of enquiry using a kaupapa-a-hapū approach, including how this harakeke restoration might impact community wellbeing,how the history of societal and environmental decline can be viewed through the lens of harakeke, and how the Whakaki community might utilise harakeke to maintain healthy environments, generate sustainable incomes and improve societal outcomes.

Research Lead(s) and Team

Ngāti Porou
Senior Lecturer
School of Agriculture and Environment

The overarching theme of my research is understanding the composition, distribution and evolutionary history of New Zealand’s unique ecosystems. My primary focus is the rich, and largely endemic, marine mollusc fauna. However, I apply my broadly ranging expertise in genomics, ecology and evolutionary biology, to a diverse range of research topics involving New Zealand’s biodiversity, both native and exotic.