Mātauranga Māori knowledge of native shrubs

Mātauranga Māori knowledge of native shrubs

Native plants are important for the kaitiakitanga and guardianship of the hill country

Many farmers with steep erosion prone hill country are interested in revegetation with native species. To support farmers exploring the option of planting native vegetation on their farms, this programme evaluated several aspects related to growing native shrubs on hill country.

Over 70% of Māori titled land is in hill country farming, therefore, understanding the mātauranga applications of native shrub species was also vital to evaluating native plants in our hill country.

To fully evaluate the potential of native shrubs as an alternative forage and for kaitiakitanga and stewardship of the hill country a kaupapa Māori approach was needed.

Developing an understanding of the mātauranga of native shrubs

Three native shrub species – Māhoe (Melicytus ramiflorus), Pāpāuma (Griselinia littoralis) and Taupata (Coprosma repens) were assessed in steep erosion prone hill country in the Wairoa District.

Understanding the mātauranga of these species and related tikanga associated with their use was achieved by engaging with a Māori community of interest in kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face -to-face) wānanga and interviews.

Initial investigation of mātauranga indicates that traditional knowledge of native plants is localised and reflected in names given to plant species by Māori as hapū and iwi in different areas.

For example, the names used for Māhoe include hinahina, moeahu, inaina, inihina, and kaiwētā and reflect different perspectives of the plant species.

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