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Digital mapping wānanga builds hapū knowledge and skills

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Creating interactive maps of ecological and cultural significance was a key highlight for over 60 participants in a three day digital mapping wananga at Hiruharama Pa near Ruatorea this week.

Utilising Google Earth and other Geographic Information Systems (GIS) platforms and apps, local whanau, rangatahi and staff members of Te Papa Atawhai and the Gisborne District Council visited sites in the area to geo-tag places of significance. A wide range of data and information was collated virtually and in situ including photographs, traditional placenames, historical korero, mahinga kai, water quality and freshwater habitat information, native vegetation, pests/weeds and recreational use.FullSizeRender

Duane Wilkins, Mapping Manager of Te Papa Atawhai – Department of Conservation in Wellington was the lead keynote presenter and facilitator for the mapping workshop. Biologist Dr Ian Ruru led sessions focused on the tuna as a sentinel species to support water quality monitoring and the assessment of freshwater habitat. Takerei Norton and Iain Gower skyped in to the wananga to share Ngai Tahu’s impressive digital mapping project that has already geo-tagged over 5,000 traditional placenames in Te Waipounamu. Local DOC ranger, Graeme Atkins shared his extensive knowledge of native plants and wetland restoration advice as part of the hikoi on Kahuitara.

“GIS is a powerful and accessible tool for recording and re-presenting matauranga and information that is important to us, supports lifelong learning and our aspirations, needs and responsibilities as kaitiaki” said Pia Pohatu, wananga organiser and project leader of Tieki Te Taiao O Te Takiwa – a three year conservation project for Hikurangi Takiwa Trust. “The ability to collectively build and share maps will support the transmission of matauranga between generations, improve our decision-making and better inform the initiatives we want to lead and get involved with.”FullSizeRender

Newly appointed East Coast Area Officer for Gisborne District Council Ngarangi Walker also helped organise the wananga after participating in a Google Earth Indigenous Mapping hui in Whakatane last year.

“It is important for organisations like the Council to understand how hapu and local communities want to be involved as decision-makers and the collective approaches required to ensure they are ably represented in RMA and local government processes. Hapu or community created maps are an effective way to portray the values they associate with place/s and inform Council processes to respond appropriately.” said Miss Walker.

Digital forms to record details about significant sites were developed during the wananga along with a plan to digitally map the hapu tribal estate over the next three years. Archives of historical value such as survey maps and opportunities to gain further training in GIS were also made available to wananga participants. With half the wananga attendees being under the age of 18 and the oldest aged 84 – the technology, science and matauranga themes provided something for all to learn and contribute toFullSizeRender.

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou board member and NZ Trade and Enterprise advisor Barry Soutar talked about a number of Maori businesses commercialising GIS systems and using digital technologies in global markets to earn millions for the product developers, company owners and the country.

The wananga was supported through koha from wananga participants and the Department of Conservation Community Conservation Partnership Fund.

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Mātauranga Project Update – Feb 2015

Hikurangi Takiwā Trust is pleased to provide a progress update on a number of important projects for the hapū.

Freshwater scientist Murray Palmer shows Makarika School students how to monitor water quality at the Makatote Stream.

He Rautaki Matauranga mo Te Rohenga Tipuna O Hikurangi Takiwa is an initiative focused on mātauranga within the rohe undertaken as a partnership between Hikurangi Takiwā Trust, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and the Ministry of Education. The strategic plan for mātauranga within the hapū was developed in consultation with hapū members and educators over 2013 and 2014. Regular reviews are planned and the document driving an iterative process that will change over time as new learning occurs through the activities in the initiative.

Tia Neha is leading an archives project within the initiative that will identify and collate hapū taonga. Tia is responsible for scoping whanau and organisational repositories of/for hapu significant taonga including at least ten priority audio archives held by Radio Ngati Porou. She will lead the design and establishment of appropriate facilities to document and store taonga and references to taonga with relevant access, intellectual property, quality assurance, storage and retrieval protocols.

Ngarangi Walker is leading the Communications Strategy, Takiwa Profile and Marae Reader Sample aspects of the mātauranga initiative. Ngarangi is responsible for producing and publishing a six-page marae reader sample for nga pa tokoono o Hikurangi Takiwa. The elements of design and content will consider whakapapa, whenua, reo and common elements may include pepeha, historic and recent imagery from each pa.

Ngarangi is also developing a communications strategy for and with the Trust to enable nga uri o nga hapu o Hikurangi Takiwa to be informed, participate in information sharing and decision-making processes. The strategy will include a digital platform to support the purpose and aims of the Trust.

In addition to the above, Ngarangi and her team will design a survey and engagement plan with households and landowners within Hikurangi Takiwa, train interviewers/ enumerators and implement the survey within the rohe. She will disseminate research results from this survey.

Pia Pohatu is coordinating participation of the hapū in the northern half of Ngāti Porou in similar mātauranga development initiatives and a copy of the strategic plan for He Rautaki Matauranga mo Te Rohenga Tipuna O Hikurangi Takiwa is available from Pia (Email: pia@uritukuiho.org.nz).