Adapting principles from Te Rongo? into ecologically and culturally sustainable farm practice

Funding Body

Ng? Pae o Te M?ramatanga (Auckland University)

Total Contract Value $206,392
Start Date July 2010
End Date
June 2012
Principal Investigator
Dr. Marion Johnson
Staff Involved
Dr. Marion Johnson, Dr. Janet Stephenson

Brief Abstract

This project promotes a novel philosophy and approach to agricultural production by translating and applying traditional M?ori knowledge of the medicinal properties of native plants to stock health.

New Zealand has a large natural pharmacopeia. Complementing the natural plant diversity, there is a wealth of traditional knowledge (Te Rongo?) within the M?ori culture regarding the use of plants for human health and healing. Globally, there is an increasing awareness of the adverse impacts of current agricultural practices; this is evident in changing consumer demands for more responsibility, traceability, and natural methods of farming. New Zealanders (and M?ori in particular) are well placed to respond to these demands through the development of lower input systems and niche product. However, maintaining a high standard of animal health is one of the major problems associated with farming without chemical interventions.

Using a M?ori-owned farm in Banks Peninsula as a model, our project will adapt Te Rongo? for farm application, weaving medicinal plants into the management strategy of the farm. As the diversity of species on the farm is enriched, there will be flow on effects to the native flora and fauna, and the enhancement of the ecosystem. 

Potential outcomes include the development of a novel philosophy for farm management, recording of medicinal plant knowledge for the local community, and mapping of Te Putahi farm for the Wairewa r?nanga who hold the farm in trust.