Mātaki Marangai

School pupils monitoring geographical patterns of rainfall around Tairāwhiti 

Bodeker Scientific Contacts
Emily O'Riordan

Greg Bodeker

Funding Programme
MBIE Unlocking Curiouds Minds Fund 

February - December 2024

Project Lead
Emily O'Riordan, Bodeker Scientific


Tairāwhiti has recently been subject to several devastating extreme weather events, causing fatalities and damage to homes, wharekura, roads, marae and livelihoods. The region has been identified as ‘especially vulnerable’ to the impacts of climate change; its complex terrain and coastline creates high spatial variability in rainfall patterns and challenges weather forecasting.

Research Aims

Our team, in partnership with rangatahi and ākonga from eight local kura across Tairāwhiti, will deploy 100 rain gauges and 8 automatic weather stations around Tairāwhiti with the goals of improving local mātauranga of rainfall, lifting the capacity of those living in the region to collect weather data and use those data in daily decision-making, furthering mātauranga by incorporating local maramataka, and informing an advanced weather forecast model, that will be trialled in Tairāwhiti, being developed through our aligned MBIE Smart Ideas DeepWeather project.

The rainfall monitoring network, and data collection and curation tools, will be co-designed and implemented by students. Rangatahi will be engaged in the project from conception, to deployment, to analysis of the data. We will be working with students to perform this analysis of the data collected and disseminate findings about rainfall variation in the region.

To extend the benefits of the project beyond completion, participants (ākonga, kaiako and kura) will retain ownership of the instruments and the data collection, curation and analysis tools that will be co-developed with project scientists. To ensure community ownership of the monitoring network, six taitamariki (employed in leadership roles on the project) will be trained in operating the instruments and collecting, analysing, and interpreting the data. They, in turn, will teach the ākonga hosting the 100 rain gauges at their homes and the kaiako hosting the tipping-bucket rain gauges at the eight kura. 

The project aims to encourage engagement of local rangatahi in science, building a relevant and practical science capability in a region that typically has fewer opportunities to engage with science and technology. By folding locally-sourced maramataka into the data collection and analysis, the project will increase knowledge and visibility of different research methodologies, including kaupapa