First major Ngai Tahu expedition departs as part of Murihiku Regeneration Southern Oceans Programme
A six strong team departed yesterday from Awarua -Bluff on a month long southern oceans science and research expedition as a part of the Murihiku Regeneration ki te Tonga Programme (MKTT) aboard the Heritage Adventurer, owned and operated by New Zealand company Heritage Expeditions Limited. This is the first of four expeditions that will be deployed in the 2023/2024 summer session with the MKTT programme to better understand the southern ocean and its importance to Ngai Tahu and New Zealand from a climate, biodiversity, cultural and sustainability perspective.
“The team will be undertaking a number of research and science projects that now form part of the ki te Tonga programme that we started in 2022 and follows on from our first deployment in February 2023 to prove our initial capability. This includes a research project sponsored by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), which will be conducted over the January and February voyages, and reported on during the year.
“This programme is in part about It builds on our Ngai Tahu marine zone of interest, which includes the four NZ subantarctic islands. This is written into our 1996 settlement agreement with the Crown, and we are ensuing we are visible, engaged in that zone, and we are doing our part.
‘We have selected a six strong expedition team that has a mix of experience and volunteers, who all have a science and research background, and curiosity about the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.
“We see this as an opportunity of a lifetime, where they can further develop their skills knowledge and experience in conducting marine, sub Antarctic island studies and also operating in the Ross Sea Sector. On the trip they will be actively involved in marine mammal and wildlife research, undertake a cultural mapping project, and also developing future projects for the programme,” confirmed Terry Nicholas as the Programme sponsor for this expedition.
The six members of the team are; Riki Parata (Team Leader), Dr Regina Eisert (Science and Marine Mammal Lead), Colin Aitchison (Drone operator), Tane Tamati (member), Karlee Nicholas (member), and Luka Finn (member).
“We would like to acknowledge and thank Heritage Expeditions for their support and partnership in enabling this expedition to happen”, says Riki Parata, MKTT Team leader for the January expedition.
Murihiku Regeneration is sponsored through Hokonui Rūnanga, one of the four southern Rūnanga that are a part of Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu.
The MKTT Programme, established in 2022, aims to build research, science and innovation capability and capacity for Murihiku Hapū, Ngai Tahu in their understanding of te Moana-tapokopoko-a-Tawhiti, focused around climate, biodviersity, sustainable ecosystem management, commercial opprtunities and building cultural awareness and competence.
Posted: 11 January 2024