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  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
    Published 28 June 2018, Updated 14 April 2020 Referencing Hub media

    Find out why and how the Ahi Pepe MothNet project created the Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui – Beginners’ Guide to Macro Moths. Dr Barbara Anderson from Ahi Pepe MothNet, Dr Robert Hoare from Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, and Victoria Campbell from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu explain the process.



    We have the puka whakamārama, and that’s a big thing that we’ve produced – this beginners’ guide to the macro moths for the different regions – and we’re very proud of our puka whakamārama.


    When we first engaged in this project, we knew that there was a wealth of scientific resources out there for children. However, we realised that there wasn’t anything specific for our tamariki that go to kura. And given the location of this kura, within the takiwā of Kāi Tahu, we felt it important to honour the dialect of the mana whenua.

    When I speak of the language, I speak of the customs and the traditions that are associated with the language, so it’s not compartmentalised like from a Western perspective. So the language is our culture, it is our mātauranga, our knowledge. And so, with the puka whakamārama that we did, it was important for us to tell our story and our viewpoint first and then work that into a way that would share that knowledge for a broader audience, hence why we did a bilingual version and an English version and a Kāi Tahu mita version.


    I’ve helped in putting together the field guides. I’ve tried to use our knowledge from the collections that we have in New Zealand and from the collecting that I’ve done throughout the country to work out what are the most likely species for the children to find, and so each area has the commonest species.


    The moth images on the guides – that’s hundreds of hours of Birgit Rhode from Landcare Research – her precision and her passion for getting them right. Each one of those images is a hundred stacked photos drawn together. They’re fantastic. And that’s why we get the resolution that we can. And that’s why the kids can see how amazing they are, because that resource is there.


    It’s the beginning of a new age of discovery in terms of New Zealand moths. For the first time, we’re really getting out there, producing the resources that will allow people from children on upwards to get into moths – not necessarily identify them but just get interested in them – and then they can take photographs, share those photographs. If they’re very keen, they can make a collection. And then we can start building up a much better picture of the distributions and life histories that we need to know in order to look after and care for our moth fauna, which is such an important fauna.

    Dr Barbara Anderson
    Dr Robert Hoare
    Victoria Campbell
    The tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti

    Ahi Pepe MothNet
    Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

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