Kaitiakitanga mō te kiekie – sustainable harvest Of Freycinetia Banksii
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
For generations, the harvest of native flora and fauna by Māori was guided by tikanga. In the art of weaving, the sustainability of the culture was greatly dependant on the careful practice of harvest to ensure the maintenance of resources for future generations – also known as kaitiakitanga. One of the most important weaving materials was the kiekie (Freycinetia banksii). Under tikanga, the traditional method of harvest was to use a hand wrench. This method, it was argued, encouraged vigorous replenishment of the harvested stem, thus mediating human impacts on the resource. However, over the last decade it has arisen that a minority of harvesters may be adopting non-traditional techniques which involve the removal of the entire leaf head. Consequently, patches are slow to recover, and in some cases, the affected stems perish. Despite these observations, there is little in the way of quantitative data. As a result, Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa instigated this research to investigate harvesting practices and their impacts on kiekie. Over 1.5 years, I tested whether traditional harvest was the most appropriate method by measuring how different harvesting techniques affected the recovery of harvested stems at two sites – one at Te Kotuku Whakaoka (Lake Brunner) on the west coast of the South Island, and the second in the Kaimai Ranges, west of Rotorua, in the North Island. Sixty stems at each site were treated with one of three different harvest regimes – a traditional hand wrench that removed approx. one-third of the stem tip biomass and was conducted over two different seasons ((1) spring and (2) autumn), and (3) a non-traditional harvest technique removing 100 % of the stem tip biomass with loppers. An additional investigation was conducted to evaluate the recovery of kiekie after goat browse. To simulate herbivory, 50 % of the total leaf area of the stem tip was removed from twenty of the sixty treatment stems. Results showed that the herbivory treatments significantly slowed new leaf production on the stems, when compared to controls. Overall, costs of harvest were higher for the non-traditional method than the traditional techniques. Nontraditionally harvested stems had a poorer recovery, with 20 % dying, and only 27 % of the remaining stems regenerating with an average of 1.73 side shoots. In comparison, the two traditionally hand wrenched stems produced an average of 2.35 (Spring Wrench) and 2.55 (Autumn Wrench) side shoots. Findings also showed that traditionally hand wrenched stems are recovering back lost resources. One and a half years after harvest, the Spring Wrench shoots had recovered 70 % of the removed biomass (dry weight). Average leaf lengths of the three longest shoot leaves on all side shoots per wrench stem were at ~ 38 % of mature leaf size. One year after harvest Autumn Wrench shoots had recovered 2.7 % of the removed biomass (dry weight) and shoot leaves were at ~ 19 % of mature leaf size. Consequently, both are capable of photosynthate synthesis and supply. Measurements did indicate however, that recovery may be sped up in the Autumn Wrench stems which produced more new shoot leaves on all side shoots than the Spring Wrench stems one year after harvest (32.1 and 26.9 shoot leaves respectively); although these results apply to a short research period and could be enhanced by a longer-term study. The findings validate the concerns of weavers regarding the negative impacts of non-traditional harvest on the sustainability of kiekie resources. Furthermore, there is support for tikanga regarding kiekie harvest. The regeneration of stocks shows that of all the harvest techniques investigated, the traditional modes of harvest are the most effective means of mediating the impacts of human harvest on kiekie.