More work on moa – Marsden Fund grants $870,000 for research into an extinct bird and Maori food gathering

Buzz from the Beehive

More millions have been dished out by Ministers in the past 24 hours and/or we have been shown what has happened to funding previously distributed.

In the second category, the PM has officially opening a surf live saving centre in Tauranga.  We can see what we got for our money.

In the first  category, on the other hand, is the latest approval of grants from the Marsden Fund.

  • 113 new projects funded
  • More than $77.391 million invested over the next three years
  • Universities to receive almost 90.5% of the funding

We must wait to see how well this dosh has been invested.

 Among the successful projects is work being done by Professor R.K.Walter, Dr K.L.Grieg, Dr C.N.T Phillips and Dr M.Tomp, from the University of Otago, and Professor K.G.Douglass, from the Pennsylvania State University.

They have been granted $870,000 over three years for a project described as

Moa hunting, mahinga kai and Māori economic practices – 1300 to 1450 AD”.

We may suppose those dates were chosen because moa likely became extinct sometime between 1440-1445 AD,

We happen to know of other studies into the moa and its extinction.  One account can be found HERE and  another HERE.

We look forward to learning – a few years hence – what we have got for the $870,000 spent on the latest research.  Or, when it’s spent, will the research team be back to plead:  “Please sir, can we have some moa…”?

According to the Beehive website,our munificent ministers have been …

* Splashing out on a surf lifesaving centre

The Prime Minister has officially opened the Port of Tauranga Rescue Centre which was given $2.9m of Government funding from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund to secure surf lifesaving facilities for a popular stretch of coastline.

That funding supported the build of the 1300 square-metre facility, alongside funding from the Port of Tauranga, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust and other community organisations.

So, without government money and the new facility – is the PM saying? – the lifesavers would have left swimmers to drown?

But it turns out creating jobs was among the government’s considerations:  around 150 local people were employed during the course of building the new infrastructure

“…and the benefits will be ongoing not just for the people of Tauranga but for everyone that enjoys the Eastern Region. When we announced the CRRF in July 2020, it was with this specific intention, to create jobs, support industry and provide much-needed economic stimulus across Aotearoa,” said Jacinda Ardern.

The new Centre serves as a hub for Surf Life Saving Eastern Region, comprising of 19 surf clubs from the top of the Coromandel all the way to Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

The $50 billion CRRF was set out in Budget 2020 and earmarked $3b for infrastructure projects. Twelve surf lifesaving clubs received CRRF funding, totalling $16.99 million.

* Announcing who secured how much from a $4.2m handout for greening the transport system

Transport Minister Michael Wood said Waka Kotahi received more than 110 applications for the initial round of funding for the $15 million innovation fund which has been bemusingly named Hoe ki angitū, launched in June 2022 to help accelerate the development of solutions to challenges facing the land transport system.

Twenty-four applications have been approved to receive a total of $4.2 million in the first funding round, which asked applicants to respond to three key challenges:

  • accelerating the use of recycled materials and sustainable practices
  • integrating low emission first and last-mile travel solutions
  • providing under-served communities with greater access to transport options.

The fund is part of the Government’s comprehensive approach to responding to the climate emergency.

The successful applicants will be supported by Waka Kotahi with access to data, transport expertise, help to navigate land transport regulation, and support with real-world testing of solutions.

A full list of successful applications can be found at

You missed out this time?

Don’t worry.  A ​​​​​second round of challenges will be announced “in November 2022”. Those interested are invited to find out more at

November 2022 is this month, of course.

* Enthusing about the granting of $77.391m from the Marsden Fund

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Ayesha Verrall said 113 new research projects have been approved for funding with $77.391 million from the Marsden Fund being invested over the next three years.

Newly funded projects include looking at stimulating immune cells to combat cancer, harnessing the power of thermal spikes, and understanding the sounds of te reo Māori in an acoustically varied world.

Other successful recipients will focus on climate change, diabetic heart disease, antibiotic resistance and exploring aspects of our cultural history.

The Marsden Fund supports research across a wide range of disciplines from biomedical sciences, engineering, mathematics, physics and chemistry, through to social sciences including Māori studies, public policy, social linguistics, and the humanities.

“Encouragingly this funding round has seen 1 in 10 researchers of successful projects identify as Māori.

“Supporting Māori researchers in our research system is an important priority for the Government.”

The full results and researcher contact details for media comment will be on the Royal Society Te Apārangi website

* Hailing the production of a video to help people deal with the Coroners Court

Minister for Courts Aupito William Sio welcomed the work of the Ministry of Justice, which has created the video as part of a work programme focused on improving the experience from when a death occurs and is reported to the coroner, until the body is returned to the family.

The Government is committed to reducing the time a case spends in the Coroner’s jurisdiction, he said.

This work includes the Coroners Amendment Bill and the Budget 2022 funding to help reduce the coronial caseload.

The video has been designed to support families when considering their options during the initial stages after a death, and help the coroner in identifying the family values that may need to be considered. “

Alongside the video, a new factsheet and revised booklet are also available to assist families in understanding the coronial process.

The video is available with both English and te reo Māori subtitles. Both versions are available on the Ministry’s YouTube channel, and on the Coronial Services website.

Links: First stages of the coronial process | Coronial Services of New Zealand (  and  Coronial Process – YouTube

* Sharing prime ministerial optimism with Big Business bosses

The PM, addressing the CEOs of BusinessNZ’s Major Companies Group, showed she CAN deliver a speech without spending the first minute or so demonstrating her prowess with te reo.

Having noted that she was speaking at a time of workforce shortages, supply chain disruption, geopolitical tension, and a high inflationary environment, she said:

“But I’m here with you tonight to share some optimism. Firstly, because we’re not alone in the experience we’re having. And also, because if Covid taught us anything, it’s that we’re stronger when we tackle problems together.”

This would be the same togetherness she champions when fostering “the Treaty partnership” and co-governance.

She mentioned an economy 4.8 percent bigger than before Covid, near record low unemployment, low debt and a smaller than expected deficit.

“All of these economic indicators are running at similar or mostly better levels than achieved during and after the GFC.

“It’s a strong position.

But whoa.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr has been discussing central banks and the raising of interest rates to combat inflation by slowing domestic spending.

“This means employment prospects will be increasingly compromised, as people delay their spending and investment decisions.

Oh – and the  PM said primary industry exports are on track to reach a record $52.2 billion for the current financial year.

But isn’t the Government  aiming to crimp farm production to reduce agricultural emissions?

Of course, Point of Order can be accused of cherry picking when it draws attention to those bits of the PM’s speech.

Obviously she said much more.  You can find it HERE.

2 thoughts on “More work on moa – Marsden Fund grants $870,000 for research into an extinct bird and Maori food gathering

  1. Moa research, food gathering??
    1300-1450AD??? Very useful for a nation descending into 3rd world status because of total economic mismanagement!
    The sum of human knowledge will no doubt be increased to the delight of that huge minority who claim Maori invented all that stuff brought here by the “awful European colonisers” before they arrived.
    Total and shameless waste of taxpayer funds, particularly at this time.
    I give up!!!!


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