A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment fund is investing $4 million of taxpayer money in combining western science and Māori traditional knowledge.

Thirty-one new projects involving mātauranga Māori will benefit from the ministry’s Te Punaha Hihiko fund.

In one, AgResearch and the skincare brand Ora will use $100,000 to study the healing properties of mamaku, the native black tree fern traditionally used for poultices.

Ora is run by three Ngāti Kahungunu sisters.

The fund will also help local iwi and researchers develop a tool to detect kauri dieback in the Atanui Walkway on Mount Auckland before visual symptoms show.

The fund manager Max Kennedy said the grants help Māori and other scientists to learn from each other.

“It’s about developing Māori capability to interact with the science system and it’s also about upskilling our scientists and taking advantage of the opportunities that some of the mātauranga offers to projects in New Zealand.”

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