This equates to around 28 generations between then and now and many millions of ancestors across those 28 generations.
Oral-based knowledge systems are predominant among indigenous nations and Māori are no exception. Oral narratives are passed within a generation and onto the next generations for many reasons including (but not exclusively) to teach skills, transmit cultural values, record family and community histories, and explain the natural world.
It then follows that if this knowledge - built up over generations and connected to these lands, water and environment - is available to use, why wouldn’t you consider what is available to us? What possibilities does that knowledge hold given the significant challenges we experience such as severe weather events, flooding, drought and climate change impacts. All challenges that science alone is unable to solve.
We should never be afraid of more knowledge. So, it is a little puzzling – and somewhat frustrating - to see the term mātauranga Māori (literally Māori knowledge) continue to be a source of such controversy in recent times.
It has generated heated public discussion, open letters by academics, and even whipped up fears of childhood indoctrination - which I would argue is entirely unfounded and may stem simply from a lack of understanding of what mātauranga Māori is, and what it can offer.