Mobilising for Action

Focusing on the human dimensions of forest health management, specifically kauri dieback and myrtle rust.

This research is Active

Overview Te Tirohanga Whānui

We all have a role to play in biodiversity conservation, especially when it comes to protecting taonga species from invasive pathogens. Whether we recognize it or not, our survival as a human species is dependent on the survival of te taiao (the environment), and we have a duty of care to retain its mana and mauri.

  • But how are people connecting to te taiao?
  • What motivates people to care or act to save our taonga species?
  • How can people be empowered to make a difference now and in the future, to ensure the well-being of te taiao for the coming generations?

The ‘Mobilising for Action’ research investment focuses on the human dimensions of forest health management, specifically kauri dieback and myrtle rust. It will develop and support research that explores the connections between people and the ngahere (forest) specifically, and people and te taiao more generally.

You can find all the Mobilising for Action resources on their website by clicking below:

Mfa Website Link Image

Mobilising for Action 2022

Research Area Summary Te Whakarāpopototanga Kaupapa

This investment will be firmly grounded in an ‘interface’ approach that utilises indigenous knowledge and Western science. The projects are being determined by an extensive ‘reaching out’ process being carried out in the first half of 2020, as well as an extensive knowledge base that draws on Te Ao Māori and Western psychological perspectives.

This team is aiming to answer several key questions:

  • What enables/inhibits people’s action on the ground
  • How to best empower New Zealanders to protect and restore the ngahere
  • How to unlock the potential for mana whenua, community and researchers to take action
  • How to build trusting relationships among multiple and diverse actors to co-design activities to protect the ngahere

To address these questions, the co-leaders have already met with over 100 people from the researcher community (social science, biophysical science, mātauranga), iwi/hapū and whānau, kaitiaki, rangatira, community and industry groups, NGOs, and local, regional and central government agencies, along with many others who wished to engage. They have also drawn on a pool of previous indigenous and Western research literature.

Highlights Ngā Mahi Whakahirahira

  • A special edition of the International journal Knowledge Cultures published in April 2023 is devoted to Mobilising for Action (MfA) research and includes 13 peer-reviewed articles. Check it out by clicking here. 
  • Several other publications from MfA projects have been published in international and local journals.
  • Five members of the MfA team showcased their research at an international science communication conference in Europe in April 2023. The presentations highlighted MfA’s approach to interweaving mātauranga Māori, kaupapa Māori and critical social science to address the complex socio-environmental issuesof kauri dieback and myrtle rust.
  • Mobilising for Action launched its own website to display its projects to wider audiences – visit the website by clicking here.
  • Toi Taiao Whakatairanga, a MfA project, launched their own website to showcase its commissioned artists. Visit the website by clicking here.
  • A karakia for myrtle rust was created by Jane Mihingarangi Ruka and Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorangi Ruka (Ngāti Pakau, Ngāpuhi, Waitaha-Hokianga).
  • Toi Taiao Whakatairanga films:
  • The Māra Tautāne project premiered its film about the revitalisation of a customary practice connected to te taiao at Ngāi Tūhoe’s Living Village in Tāneatua in September 2022. The film recorded for the first time ever this deeply spiritual ceremony undertaken by the hapū Te Māhurehure from the Ruātoki Valley of Te Urewera.
  • Two more Māra Tautāne (ceremonial gardens) are being created in the Bay of Plenty.
  • Toitū te Ngahere, a project exploring art in schools, has delivered workshops, musical productions, an art gallery exhibition attended by hundreds of visitors, artwork installations, and university lectures delivered by the children.
  • Several projects have developed brochures for forest users to support their ethical and sustainable engagement with the ngahere. They have also worked with government agencies to assist them on how to successfully co-create solutions with communities.
  • Deanna Haami and Ariana Apiti won best poster at the NZ Psychological Society annual conference, for their research based on findings from our project He Taonga Kē Te Ngahere.
  • Scholarship recipient Isla Christensen was awarded first prize in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Science ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition, for her Master’s research on media coverage of kauri dieback and forest closures.
  • By supporting young journalism students, MfA has seen several stories in mainstream and Māori media, including Josh Robertson and Zoe Madden-Smith’s film in Re News titled ‘The fight to save kauri with mātauranga Māori‘ and Jenny Leonard’s commentary piece on myrtle rust in Stuff.

Co-leads Ngā kaiārahi ngātahi


Marie McEntee

Marie McEntee

University of Auckland

Mark Harvey

Mark Harvey

Mātāwaka no Ngāti Toa
University of Auckland

Resource outputs from this programme


Indigenous Māori of Aotearoa (New Zealand): Environmental Identity, Rather Than Māori Identity Per Se, Has Greatest Influence on Environmental Distress

For the Indigenous Māori of Aotearoa New Zealand, the natural environment has traditionally been an essential source of sustenance, well-being, and identity. Contemporary Māori are…
View Publication

He Taonga Kē Ngā Kaumātua – Ariana Apiti

He Taonga Kē Ngā Kaumātua: Kaumātua perspectives of te taiao, ngahere and taonga species. Presented by Mobilising for Action researcher Ariana Apiti, as part of…
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Te Mauri o te Kauri me te Ngahere: Indigenous Knowledge, te Taiao (the Environment) and Wellbeing.

Ko te kauri he rākau rongonui, he rākau rangatira puta noa i Te Tai Tokerau. The kauri (Agatha australis) is a chiefly tree that represents…
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Park Rangers and Science-Public Expertise: Science as Care in Biosecurity for Kauri Trees in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Park rangers hold a unique set of knowledge—of science, of publics, of institutional structures, of place, and of self—that should be recognised as valuable. For…
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