Waikato-Tainui executive chair and AgResearch director Rukumoana Schaafhausen says the partnership is about using the tribe’s matauranga (indigenous knowledge) and scientific research to deliver better outcomes for communities and the environment.
“In the past, our people prospered from a thriving circular economy that integrated whenua, water, people and wairua. That knowledge and experience is applicable to the challenges we face today.”
AgResearch chief executive Sue Bidrose says the partners to the agreement will work on areas of mutual interest, especially the quality of waterways and tackling environmental challenges on farms that employ and support many iwi members.
“Our scientists are doing a lot of research into protecting and preserving the land and waterways, whilst acknowledging the matauranga and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of iwi.”
Waikato-Tainui is currently helping to develop the AgResearch ‘Hyperfarm’ tool that uses big data and digital simulation to visualise land use changes on farms and their consequences, which has significant potential to improve outcomes for the agriculture sector.
Dr Bidrose says AgResearch is on a journey to incorporating Te Ao Maori into its everyday work and the new partnership agreement is a critical part of that commitment.
AgResearch is a cornerstone tenant of the Ruakura Research Centre owned by a subsidiary of Tainui Group Holdings.