Strategy purpose

Te kete mātauranga a āhuarangi me te taiao - the Environment and Climate Research Strategy responds to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s recommendation for a clear, unambiguous national-level environmental research strategy to guide funding. This work will identify and prioritise critical research and evidence needs. It brings together over 70 existing research strategies and plans.

The strategy will help ensure that research funding delivers useful knowledge, tools and processes that enhance and protect our environment and climate. This will support major natural resource sector reforms that are under way.

The strategy will allow a more strategic and coordinated approach to investing in research that delivers on government objectives.

Strategy scope

The strategy will span the research spectrum, from generating to developing to leveraging ideas. It will have a 10-year horizon, covering foundational data, collections, monitoring, capability and infrastructure. It will integrate mātauranga Māori and kaupapa Māori research to ensure relevant and inclusive research outcomes are delivered.

How the strategy will be developed

The strategy will be structured around six interdisciplinary research themes:

  • Te mauri ora – Thriving nature
  • Te whakatika i ō tātau whanonga kino – Reducing our impact
  • Ko au te taiao, ko te taiao au – I am the environment, the environment is me
  • He taonga te whakarite – Taking climate action
  • Te mauri o te wai – Healthy waters
  • Te mauri o te whenua – Resilient land systems.

Each theme will include research outcomes that help protect and enhance the environment in different ways.

The research outcomes will be prioritised according to five criteria:

  • Te Tiriti anchored
  • Impactful
  • Time bound
  • Achievable
  • Inclusive. 

The priorities will be developed with input from producers and users of research.

Connection to Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways

The strategy is a pathfinder for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways programme. The programme aims to reform the research, science and innovation system.

By testing an approach to prioritising research, it will provide learnings for, without restricting future decisions about, broader system reforms.

Agencies involved

MfE is leading a cross-agency working group with representatives from:

  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Ministry of Health
  • Regional councils.

Other government agencies, Māori advisors and chief science advisors are providing further guidance.

Next steps

We now have a draft strategy, which is awaiting Ministerial review before it goes to Cabinet for approval.

Once the strategy is approved, we will develop an implementation plan.


Contact the team at