Embedding indigenous principles in genomic research of culturally significant species: a conservation genomics case study
- Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu; 2Ngāti Apa ki te rā tō, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou
- School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
- Ngāi Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
- Ngāti Kuri, Ngāi Tahu
He taonga ngā raraunga huinga ira mai i ngā koiora o Aotearoa na te mea he whakaahuatanga ēnei raraunga o te whakapapa o Aotearoa. Nā konā, he tapu ēnei raraunga huinga ira, ā, he tika kia Māori te rangahau o te mātai iranga. Ko te haepapa o ngā kairangahau e mahi ana ki ngā raraunga huinga ira ki te whakawhanaunga atu ki ngā mana whenua o te takiwā kia kaha ake ngā mahi rangahau. Nā konei, ka whaiwhakaaro mātou e pā ana ki tō mātou whakakotahitanga o ngā āhuatanga o te kaupapa Māori me ngā mahi rangahau mātai iranga ki roto i tētahi kaupapa matua mai i Ngā Wero Pūtaiao o Ngā Koiora Tuku Iho o Aotearoa, ā, ko te ingoa o tō mātou take ko ‘Characterising adaptive variation in Aotearoa New Zealand’s terrestrial and freshwater biota’. Kei te whakawhanake a tahi mātou ko ngā kaitiaki o Ngāi Tūāhuriri i tētahi kōrero e pā ana ki ngā piki me ngā heke o te whakaarotautanga o ngā urutaunga ira ki te awhi i ngā momo tata korehāhā, ngā momo mahinga kai hoki. Kia tutuki i ēnei wawata, i hangaia tētahi kaupapa e mātou. Ko te take o tēnei kaupapa ko te whakakotahitanga o te mātauranga Māori, ngā hangarau hou o te mātai iranga, me ngā āhuatanga o ngā pūnaha hauropi hoki, o te kōwaro (Neochanna burrowsius) rāua ko te kēkēwai (Paranephrops zealandicus). Ko te paparahi o tēnei kaupapa ko tētahi pou tarāwaho mō ngā tikanga o te kohinga pūtautau, te waihanga raraunga huinga ira, me te rāhuitanga o ngā raraunga. Ko te tumanako ka tūtaki i ngā wawata o Te Tiriti o Waitangi, atu i tērā, mai i te whakakotahitanga o te kaupapa Māori me te mātai iranga, ka pai ake te atawhai ki ngā koiora o Aotearoa, ā, ka whakamana hoki i ngā whanonga o ngā iwi Māori.
Indigenous peoples around the world are leading discusions regarding genomic research of humans, and more recently, species of cultural significance, to ensure the ethical and equitable use of DNA. Within a Māori (indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) worldview, genomic data obtained from taonga (treasured) species has whakapapa – generally defined as genealogy, Whakapapa layers the contemporary, historical and mythological aspects of bioheritage – thus genomic data obtained from taonga species are taonga in their own right and are best studied using Māori principles. We contend it is the responsibility of researchers working with genomic data from taonga species to move beyond one-off Māori consultation toward building meaningful relationships with relevant Māori communities. Here, we reflect on our experience embedding Māori principles in genomics research as leaders of a BioHeritage National Science Challenge project entitled ‘Characterising adaptive variation in Aotearoa New Zealand’s terrestrial and freshwater biota’. We are co-developing a culturally responsive evidence-based position statement regarding the benefits and risks of prioritising adaptive potential to build resilience in threatened taonga species, including species destined for customary or commercial harvest. To achieve this, we co-developed a research programme with the local subtribe, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, that integrates Māori knowledge with emerging genomic technologies and extensive ecological data for two taonga species, kōwaro (Canterbury mudfish; Neochanna burrowsius) and kēkēwai (freshwater crayfish; Paranephrops zealandicus). The foundation of our research programme is an iterative decision-making framework that includes tissue sampling as well as data generation, storage and access. Beyond upholding the promises made in The Treaty of Waitangi, we contend the integration of Māori principles in genomics research will enhance the recovery of taonga species and enable the realisation of Māori values.