This project involves exploring mātauranga Māori related to fungi and characterising the impact of ecological restoration on fungal communities in wetland forests and how this may affect tangata whenua in the Wairarapa rohe.
To gather mātauranga about fungi, qualitative interviews will be conducted and quantitative data will be obtained by analysing soil samples using environmental DNA metabarcoding (eDNA) techniques. This aims to understand how fungi respond to wetland restoration and identify fungi significant to tangata whenua and as indicators of restored ecological processes.
The project prioritises a Māori-centred approach to research, guided by kaupapa Māori principles and values, to uphold the integrity of mātauranga Māori within a science-based field of study.
By aligning mātauranga Māori with scientific methods, the aim is to gain a holistic understanding of how fungal communities in Wairarapa wetland forests respond to restoration efforts and explore their cultural significance.
Why This Matters
This project aims to bridge the gap between scientific methods and Indigenous Māori knowledge, contributing valuable insights to wetland restoration, fungal community ecology, and into the relationship between fungi and tangata whenua.
The research has the potential to inform more effective ecological restoration practices that better align with te ao Māori.
- Explore mātauranga Māori surrounding fungi and the significance of fungi for Māori in Wairarapa
- Investigate the effect of ecological restoration on the diversity of fungal communities in wetland forest ecosystem states
- Examine the impact of fungal communities and successful restoration outcomes on Māori environmental and cultural values