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    Teachers often ask what Māori content is available on the Science Learning Hub. We have a wide range of resources including articles, teaching and learning activities and videos. The Hub also has a small range of resources that have been translated into te reo Māori, there is a clear link on these resources that allows the user to swap between te reo Māori and English.


    Ahi pepe MothNet – an introduction

    Scientists from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti are working together to learn about and protect our native moth species. The Ahi Pepe MothNet project created the Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui – Beginners’ Guide to Macro Moths. The resource tells the story from a Māori perspective – five whakataukī (legends) about moths and their life cycles form the core of te reo Māori guides. The whakataukī provide context and purpose for the project and the science within it.


    Estuaries are productive food gardens. Spiritual and cultural dimensions gave Māori insight into the need to protect and care for their food baskets, as explained in Valuting estuaries. Videos explain the concepts of kaitiakitanga and mātauranga Māori. The activity Estuaries - a Māori perspective uses legend and te reo Māori to explore kaitiakitanga.

    Flight mythology – Māori kites

    Early accounts of flight ideas are explored in this article. One of these is the Māori kite – a connector between the Earth and the heavens. Ideas about science are often first depicted in mythology as people sought to explain their observations of the natural world. Discussion of these ideas can build students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system.


    Explore harakeke under the microscope. Use it to learn and practise observation skills.

    Integration of Māori and western knowledge

    Māori knowledge and methods are increasingly being incorporated into New Zealand’s conservation practice. Meet researcher Dr Priscilla Wehi who is applying mātauranga Māori principles and knowledge to her research into Aotearoa New Zealand’s ecological past. Amber McEwan is researching whether mātauranga Māori might help save New Zealand’s freshwater mussels.

    Investigating middens

    Using this activity and the article Middens helps students understand how scientists gather and interpret data and use evidence to develop scientific ideas about how earlier people in New Zealand lived and kept healthy. The activity also allows opportunity to critique the validity of the evidence the students put together, thus incorporating a range of Nature of Science capabilities.


    Students could use this article to examine socio-scientific issues affecting the marine environment (the Nature of Science strand of the curriculum). The article describes how concerns of local iwi about the effects on kaimoana of the oil spill and debris resulting from the Rena grounding (2011) led to effective collaborative research.The Kaimoana in the Hauraki Gulf article highlights concerns for iwi living around the Hauraki Gulf about the discovery of tetrodotoxin (TTX) in the grey side-gilled sea slug. It could be used to explore how science ideas are communicated and often link scientific knowledge to everyday decisions and actions (Nature of Science strand).

    Māori measurement

    Due to the geographical isolation of New Zealand, pre-European Māori had little contact with neighbouring islands. Trade and commerce were internally based so there was no need for a precise measuring system. However, activities such as wharenui construction, waka making, woodcarving and weaving did require a high degree of precision. This precision was achieved more through the eye of the operator than by reference to a defined standard.


    Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. It signals the Māori new year. The article Matariki star cluster provides background information about the stars, the Māori lunar calendar and how to spot the Matariki cluster. Flight mythology explores Māori kitemaking and kite-flying, a popular part of Matariki celebrations. Constellations in the night sky is a literacy activity in which students learn about star constellations and cultural legends.

    Māori soil science

    When Māori first arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand, they brought with them knowledge of soils. Like all soil scientists, they used observation and experimentation to gather data and develop processes regarding land use. Find out more in this article about how Māori modified soils to promote kumara growth.

    Ngā Hekaheka o Aotearoa fungi resources

    The Science Learning Hub has a number of resources adapted from the bilingual booklet Ngā Hekaheka o Aotearoa by mycologist Dr Peter Buchanan with educator Dr Georgina Stewart and translator Hēni Jacob.

    The resources on fungi are from a Māori world view and are aimed at students in Years 7-10. The resources, available in English and te reo Māori, describe the form, function and importance of fungi including examples of Māori knowledge and uses of fungi. It allows students to draw a distinction between fungi, plants and where they sit in the eco-system.

    Links to all the resources can be found in Ngā Hekaheka o Aotearoa kuputaka.

    Navigating without instruments – introduction

    Navigator Jack Thatcher describes his waka hourua voyage from New Zealand to Rapanui (Easter Island) and back. The resources help develop the science capabilities of using evidence to support science ideas and interpreting representations to communicate in science.

    Participatory Science Platform projects

    Participatory Science Platform projects are collaborative, community projects that bring together local students and scientists or technologists on research investigating a locally-important question or problem. Students at Aorere College helped restore mauri to the Oruarangi Stream after a devastating dye spill. Oruarangi Stream holds special significance to local iwi. Their papakāinga is Auckland’s oldest settlement. This interactive timeline highlights how the students engaged with the nature of science as they investigated and restored the stream.

    Professional learning development webinars

    Opportunities for te reo Māori shares ideas and resources for teachers wanting to increase the amount of te reo Māori in their classrooms.

    Mātauranga Māori unpacks important ideas teachers need to be aware of when including this in their classroom and is full of ideas and inspiration.

    Mātauranga and the Living World explores mātauranga resources related to the Living World.

    Project Matāuranga

    Project Mātauranga is a television series that investigates Māori world views and methodologies within the scientific community and looks at their practical applications.

    Mātauranga Māori is a modern term that refers to Māori knowledge and Māori ways of doing things. Discover articles and videos on sea sponges and rongoā, kaitiaki of the kiwi, sea cucumber for export, kauri dieback and ngahere ecosystems, restoration of harakeke and pare.

    Rongoā Māori

    This article talks about rongoā – the Māori term for medicines that are produced from native plants. Some of these plants and their medicinal properties are identified. Students’ understanding about science as a knowledge system can be developed through discussion of the information from the Rongoā Māori article.

    In the activity Using rongoā Māori students learn about rongoā Māori (medicines that are produced from native plants in New Zealand) using a silent card game. This activity helps develop the science capabilities Using Evidence and Engage with Science as students learn about medical problems that can be solved with native plants.

    High school student Chris Ryan researched the medicinal properties of kawakawa, read about it in this Connected journal article.

    Taewa (Māori potatoes) – introduction

    Taewa are traditional potato varieties grown by early Māori settlers in New Zealand. Traditional varieties of taewa have been preserved by Māori and passed down through generations so they’re still available today in their original form. Māori treasure them as a link to their early ancestors. Find out how researchers are now developing unique food products from taewa.

    Tōku awa koiora – introduction

    Kaitiaki are working to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River. Many of the principles apply to other New Zealand rivers too. The resources help students understand that scientists ask questions about our world and that open-mindedness is important.

    It’s pretty cool because it’s native to us and something we need to protect and something that we should learn about and we should know. We should know about our history and what it was like back in the Māori days. We should know about our special creatures.

    Student Emily on the benefits of learning about the science of a New Zealand species

    The tentative nature of science knowledge

    Exploring the links in this Nature of Science article Tenets of the nature of science provides ideas on the tentative nature of science knowledge shown in the science ideas about cockles.

    Nature of science

    To ensure teaching and learning develops students’ Nature of Science capability, identify the aspect they need to develop when planning the unit and select activities and resources that will build this. For example, the Investigating middens activity can be used to build Investigating in Science capability.

    Activity ideas

    Other activity ideas with links to Māori perspectives on using rahui to control a resource.

    Another interesting activity to develop critiquing evidence capability is Kupe and modern voyaging.

    Collection of related content

    The Science Learning Hub team has curated a collection of resources related to opportunities for using te reo Māori. Login to make this collection part of your private collection, just click on the copy icon. You can then add additional content, notes and make other changes. Registering an account for the Science Learning Hubs is easy and free – sign up with your email address or Google account. Look for the Sign in button at the top of each page.

    Useful links

    See our Pinterest board that showcaswes science resources that look at research from a Māori world view and profiles that look closely at the mahi of Māori scientists.

    Further ideas on building Nature of Science understanding and science capabilities can be found on the TKI website.

    This video, Mataurangi Māori in modern day research, is a panel discussion with Dr Daniel Hikuroa, Dr Ocean Mercier, Dr Wayne Ngata and Arapata Hakiwai held in June 2017. They present their perspectives on the place of mātauranga Māori in contemporary research.

      Published 29 January 2015, Updated 11 February 2020 Referencing Hub articles