Building on Pou 1, the mauri of ecosystems represent their life-force and are integral to their health. Mauri connects our natural world, from soils and productive ecosystems to humans and communities.
Traditional land managers and custodians, or kaitiaki, used indigenous knowledge of Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural ecosystems (flora, fauna and soils) to support and grow mauri and recognise the connections and reciprocity between the health of the land and the people it supports.
This research will define the links between humans and the natural world. It will resolve the value of mauri across ecosystems and demonstrate how ecosystem restoration forms the basis of the well-being of communities.
We will explore mānuka (L. scoparium) and kānuka (K. ericoides; Kunzea spp.), as an indigenous (Māori and Pasifika) socio-ecological restoration model, providing positive impacts for native biodiversity as well as restorative soil practices for productive landscapes. These native taonga (treasured) species are studied across all three research Pou.
Mānuka and kānuka are widespread throughout Aotearoa-New Zealand, and they are part of the Myrtaceae, or myrtle family, which is widespread throughout Australasia and the Pacific. Mānuka and kānuka are often present around forest margins and act as a “window” to ecosystem health.
Mānuka and kānuka are economically important to Māori and the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand, particularly in the thriving honey industry. Other benefits from these plants include derivation of bioactive plant compounds, native forestry, cultural harvest, ecotourism, and carbon.