The launch by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of its Mātauranga Framework is a positive step towards recognising the role of indigenous knowledge in promoting planetary health, says HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Trevor Simpson.
The Mātauranga Framework aims to help the EPA, which is the Government agency responsible for regulating activities that affect New Zealand’s environment, incorporate Māori perspectives and mātauranga evidence into its decision-making.
Mr Simpson who is HPFs Senior Strategist in Maori Health Promotion welcomed the initiative and said “the acknowledgement of Maori world views in relation to Te Taiao, the natural environment and its connection to human wellbeing is a positive step.
“It is recognition that indigenous knowledge can inform our approach to nature, the ecosystem and our kaitiakitanga relationship to life and the planet.”
The Principal Advisor in Kaupapa Kura Taiao, the EPA’s Maori Advisory team, Erica Gregory, said there was no one definition for mātauranga, but it could be described as a unique knowledge and understanding of Te Taiao – the natural environment.
“It has its own unique characteristics that are as valid as, but different from, other knowledge systems including science. A simple example of mātauranga would be the Māori consideration that when a pōhutukawa tree is in blossom it is also a good time to harvest kina.”
EPA’s Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth said the Mātauranga Framework was the first of its kind to be developed for a New Zealand regulator.
The EPA plans to implement mātauranga into its decision-making, policies, and processes by June 2021.
The primary goals of the mātauranga programme are to:
- Enable well-informed decision-making.
- Ensure the EPA understands the issues and implications of mātauranga for its decision-making processes.
- Increase the understanding of mātauranga across the EPA.