June 21, 2018
Moa stories drawn from whakatauki
Māori observations on the decline of the Moa could help people address threats to species today.
A multidisciplinary team including Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research conservation biologist Cilla Wehi, associate professors Hēmi Whaanga and Tom Roa of Waikato University's Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, and Massey University's Professor Murray Cox have been searching for environmental references in early Māori whakataukī.
Dr Wehi says Māori closely observed their new environment and mourned the loss of the giant bird, which were hunted to extinction within two centuries.
It’s something today’s conservationists can learn from.
"It’s a legacy of determination. It's a legacy of people trying out different methods in the environment to try to prevent extinction. So the warning in it is that it's not easy but nevertheless there is this incredible legacy of indigenous knowledge that tells us a lot about the environment and can contribute to what we do today and how we manage today," Dr Wehi says.
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