Conservation & Restoration

Ensuring susceptible plant species survive myrtle rust and kauri dieback.

This research is Active

Overview Te Tirohanga Whānui

It’s a huge challenge to conserve and restore kauri and native plants vulnerable to myrtle rust for future generations.

It requires knowledge of multiple stages of the life histories of the plants, which, in the case of kauri, pōhutukawa, and some species of rātā, needs to take account of them living potentially for many hundreds of years and regenerating naturally only after major disturbance events.

Importantly, conserving and restoring these taonga requires a Te Ao Māori world view and appropriate governance arrangements over the whenua – not just where adult plants grow but also where they can potentially regenerate.  It requires a Te Ao Māori world view about if and where ex situ cultivation is appropriate to secure these taonga.”

Working from a pathogen host and ecosystem point of view, this investment incorporates conservation biology principles to make sure susceptible plant species survive myrtle rust and kauri dieback in Aotearoa.

The team aims to:

  1. Help prevent the extinction of iconic species
  1. Protect at-risk species and ecosystems, and taonga rākau (trees) and locations

Conservation & Restoration 2022

Research Area Summary Te Whakarāpopototanga Kaupapa

Projects will include work on the landscape genomics of kauri, building on the excellent mahi (work) from the Healthy Trees, Healthy Futures programme.

  1. Genetic markers to guide conservation and restoration of taonga under threat of kauri dieback
  2. Tikanga-driven conservation of taonga species
  3. Te Honongā Kawanatanga Māori – ensuring effectiveness of Māori who lead conservation activities for taonga species
  4. Landscape-level restoration of taonga
  5. Protocols for the effective long-term seed collection and storage of taonga to ensure that the species can survive even the worst-case scenario

Co-leads Ngā kaiārahi ngātahi

Alby Marsh, Palmerston North

Alby Marsh

Alby Marsh

Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine, Te Rarawa
Plant and Food Research

Peter Bellingham

Peter Bellingham

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

Resource outputs from this programme


Understanding the distribution of genetic variation in ramarama – Amy MacDonald

Understanding the distribution of genetic variation in ramarama and its potential implications for conservation. Presented as part of the Kaurilands Summit 2023, hosted by Ngā…
View Presentation

Conservation genetics of maire tawake – Colan Balkwill

Restoration genetics of maire tawake – a nationally critically threatened tree species. Presented as part of the Kaurilands Summit 2023, hosted by Ngā Rākau Taketake.…
View Presentation

Evaluation of droplet-vitrification, vacuum infiltration vitrification and encapsulation-dehydration for cryopreservation of Syzygium maire zygotic embryos

Syzygium maire is a threatened tree species with limited information on long-term storage options for its recalcitrant seed. The objective of this research is to evaluate…
View Publication

Impacts of Rapid Desiccation on Oxidative Status, Ultrastructure and Physiological Functions of Syzygium maire (Myrtaceae) Zygotic Embryos in Preparation for Cryopreservation

Syzygium maire is a highly threatened Myrtaceae tree species endemic to New Zealand. Due to its recalcitrant seed storage behaviour, cryopreservation is the only viable…
View Publication

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