Mobilising for action

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

At A Glance:

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.


Dr Marie McEntee

University of Auckland

Dr Natasha Tassell-Matamua

Te Ātiawa

Massey University, Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga


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.

Upcoming Activities:

Based on the outcomes and insights gained by their broad engagement and previous research, combined with a pinch of creativity, the team is now confirming key areas of investment for research into the human dimensions of forest health management.

They are pulling together the required capabilities and capacities of individuals, groups and organisations who can contribute to the key research areas.

Updated April 2020

Research Partners

University of Auckland

Massey University

back to top