Mātauranga Māori: shaping marine and freshwater futures
Mātauranga Māori is a continuum of distinct knowledge with Polynesian origins that grew in Aotearoa New Zealand,1 including Māori worldview, values, culture and cultural practice, and perspectives that establish Māori identity, responsibilities, and rights to manage and use resources (Mead 2012; Mercier et al. 2011; Mikaere 2011; Royal 2012). As such, mātauranga Māori is considered the ūkaipō (source) of knowledge in Aotearoa New Zealand (Hikuroa 2017). Mōhiotanga (understanding), Indigenous Knowledge (IK) or Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) are all part of mātauranga Māori, but defining it as knowledge alone is inadequate. Mātauranga Māori is understood within Te Ao Māori, a Māori worldview, that has at its foundation relationships between everything seen and unseen, humans and more-than humans, the natural and spiritual world, and in turn shapes the Māori way of doing things.
There is an enormous potential for the use of mātauranga Māori to more widely enhance the understanding of aquatic ecosystems, underpin culturally-appropriate restoration approaches, and provide a more holistic and integrated perspective for activity in this realm, including research, monitoring, planning, and policy and resource development. This special issue brings together rich and diverse experiences and opinions on how mātauranga Māori is informing current, and can inform future, research and decision-making in aquatic environments of Aotearoa New Zealand. In this paper, we further describe the unique process of creating this special issue and discuss the guiding principles and emerging ideas from mātauranga Māori in relation to marine and freshwater kaitiakitanga (guardianship).