New EPA Mātauranga Framework a first of its kind

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has launched its Mātauranga Framework, which aims to help appointed decision-makers and EPA staff incorporate Māori perspectives and mātauranga evidence into their decision-making.

Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says the Mātauranga Framework is the first of its kind to be developed for a New Zealand regulator.

“As an environmental regulator this framework has been developed to help us understand, test and probe mātauranga when it is presented in evidence.”

Ensuring that Te Ao Māori is incorporated in our work was a commitment I made when joining the EPA in 2015. So, today I am considerably proud of the framework’s launch.I thank those who’ve helped us reach this point in our journey, particularly Ngā Kaihautū Tikanga Taiao, Te Herenga, and Ngā Parirau o te Mātauranga. It has truly been partnership in action.”

The Principal Advisor in Kaupapa Kura Taiao, the EPA’s Maori Advisory team, Erica Gregory, says there is 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.”

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.