Mātauranga Māori, history and science combined in a “book of environmental stories” of Lake Oporoa
A short film combining oral history, science and Mātauranga Māori presents the work Rangitīkei iwi is doing to revitalize the health of Lake Oporoa. Along with GNS Science and the Cawthron Institute, Rangitīkei iwi paints a picture of more than a thousand years of the lake’s history.
Whakahokia te mauri o Oporoa is a short film that celebrates Rangitīkei iwi’s commitment to improving the mauri (life force) and ecological health of Lake Oporoa, a relatively unknown lake in the Rangītikei watershed near Taihape. The film draws on Maori oral history, scientific knowledge and childhood memories of Lake Oporoa.
The collaboration of iwi and scientists is part of a national project titled “The Health of Our Lakes – Past, Present, Future” (“Lakes380”) jointly led by the Cawthron Institute and GNS Science, which characterizes current health and history of lakes. in Aotearoa through a nationwide sampling campaign. For some rohe (regions), the team is focused on weaving different ways of knowing and relating to lakes, embracing Mātauranga Māori, scientific data and social histories for an enriched understanding and appreciation of the various values of the lakes.
Whakahokia te mauri o Oporoa features local iwi representatives from Ngā Puna Rau o Rangitīkei who have worked in partnership with the Horizons Regional Council to revitalize Lake Oporoa and the Rangitīkei River. They draw inspiration from the rich history of one of the first Maori explorers and express their shared aspirations to restore the lake to its former health.
Lakes380 researcher and Rangitīkei iwi member Reece Martin said Lake Oporoa is a very important lake for the iwi and until recently it was an important mahinga kai (food bowl ).
“Many whānau are disconnected from the lake and their rohe, so we hope this film will help restart the reconnection. It is an invitation to all of our whānau to join this mahi in bringing about positive change to our wai, ”said Reece Martin.
The film highlights the four-year partnership between researchers at Lakes380 and Rangitīkei iwi to explore the environmental and cultural history of Lake Oporoa. Working together, they collected lake sediment cores which were analyzed using sophisticated scanning and environmental DNA technologies to provide an “environmental storybook” of the lake’s changes over the past 1000 years. .
Ngāti Hauiti kaumātua Neville Lomax, whose knowledge is at the heart of the film, congratulates the production.
“It captured the historical narrative of our lake, while also making sense of the scientific research material that the project uncovered. It’s a taonga for future generations, ”said Neville Lomax.
The director of the film, Dr Charlotte Šunde of the Cawthron Institute, said that the main goal of the project is to Whakamana the lake – to recognize his authority and to support the manawhenua who are the key to his future health.
“What the lake has revealed to us through its history was a startling revelation that showcases the benefits of Mātauranga Māori and the scientific knowledge brought together,” said Charlotte Šunde.
The film can be viewed here.
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