2023 Projects

Inaha me Kapuni haerenga o te maramatanga

Ngā awa o Kapuni me Inaha (Kapuni & Inaha rivers) are integral to the mana of Ngāti Manuhiakai, though the health of both rivers have been in decline. Ngāti Manuhiakai will gather data from the past and present using a cross-cultural scientific lens that combines scientific practice with mātauranga Māori. They will record the historic knowledge from kaumatua, while conducting eDNA sampling to identify species that live in the awa. The knowledge acquired during this project will empower the hapū to revitalize the waterways.

Haurapa Kiwi 2.0 - Tuning Up the Frequency

In an earlier project Taranaki Kiwi Trust proved that it was possible to track kiwi using drone technology. Unfortunately, the applications were limited to close range due to radio frequency interference from the drone itself. Haurapa Kiwi 2.0 brings in specialist radio frequency experts alongside students from The Head Office to solve this problem, working towards the ultimate goal of being able to track multiple kiwi over long distances in a single, automated process.

Wild about AI

Wildlife.ai will develop and launch the Wild About AI programme, which will empower school students to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to investigate locally-relevant scientific issues. The Curious Minds grant will enable the co-development of resources and lesson plans that use marine science to introduce students to the exciting and rapidly expanding field of artificial intelligence. As the project evolves, members of the public will be able to actively contribute to monitoring surveys and build their own awareness of marine conservation.

Is the world changing below the waves?

MAIN Trust are concerned by observations from divers and iwi that the reefs and marine life around Taranaki are changing. They are bringing together an impressive group of local and national experts on marine environments to record data and capture observations of the marine environment along the north Taranaki coast between Ngā Motu Tapuae and Parininihi Marine Reserves. Divers will deploy data loggers, collect photos to compare with historic imagery, and create fully immersive 360 videos so schools and community groups can experience the marine environment firsthand.

Wai Energy - Low Flow Hydro

Taranaki Catchment Communities are interested in the potential of generating electricity using low-flow hydro. They’re working with Auroa School to carry out a feasibility study on using vortex hydro systems in the Oeo stream. Participants will investigate the power potential of the water flow and survey fish populations to investigate the impact of the technology on fish passage.

Para Kuihi

Kuihi, or Canada Geese, are becoming a major pest in South Taranaki, contaminating waterways and competing with native species for food. Te Kaahui o Rauru are investigating whether drones can be used to locate Kuihi nests more effectively than on foot. The project will engage with the local community to establish what may motivate people to become involved in an annual culling event where people can learn about wetland ecology and how to process Kuihi as a source of food.

Watch how virtual reality presents an opportunity for people living with dementia to keep their minds and bodies active.

In a project led by Alzheimers Taranaki, researchers discovered that the potential benefits of VR for people living with dementia were much greater than they’d expected.

2022 Projects

Did curiosity kill the possum

The East Taranaki Environment Collective would like to find the answer to this question, and recently began managing pest control at Everett Park, near Inglewood. A trap network will be laid to target possums in the park with the help of students from Norfolk School, involving setting up cameras to observe possum behaviour and testing four trap designs.

Using virtual reality (VR)

An Alzheimers Taranaki project, was carried out in a previous Curious Minds Taranaki project in 2020 which revealed the power of virtual reality to trigger complex and detailed memories for people living with dementia. Now their follow-on project will see local digital technology students and Dr. Linda Jones further explore the effects of these VR triggered memories and evaluate their benefits.

Mai te Awa ki te Moana

The project involves Ōkahu Inuawai me ētehi atu Hapū using their local knowledge and understanding (mātauranga-a-hapū) to better understand and care for the takutai moana (foreshore and seabed) in the Ōhawe area of South Taranaki. They will work with Professor Kura Paul-Burke of University of Waikato, a mātauranga Māori science expert, to build a methodology for monitoring significant coastal sites, this is the first step in their ultimate goal of restoring rockpools and reefs around Ōhawe.

Shark Spy Taranaki - Diving Deeper

is driven by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre. In 2021 they conducted an earlier project which provided valuable information on some of the 14 or so shark species in Taranaki waters. This year the Shark Spy Taranaki - Diving Deeper project involves several schools and community groups collecting baited underwater video that has been deployed in partnership with Chaddy’s Charters.

Keeping you safe

A Taranaki Retreat project, will be exploring how physical support environments impact the wellbeing and recovery of those experiencing emotional distress, aiming to provide information of value to the Retreat and other services supporting people in distress.

Ngā motu Whānui Manumoana

Facilitated by Taranaki Mounga Project, will see a group of coastal Taranaki schools and hapū investigating new methods of monitoring the seabird populations on the Ngā motu islands, using drones to record population numbers, with the aim of minimising human interaction in the process.

2021 Projects

Tarakihi Taiora

Te Kāhui o Taranaki are working with the Ngāti Moeahu hapū to reconnect whānau, hapū and iwi to Tarakihi through GIS, remote sensing technologies and marine science.

Wētā Watcher

Wildlife.ai is collaborating with local community, conservation and education organisations to test the effectiveness of a device that autonomously takes photos of ground-dwelling invertebrates and herpetofauna (lizards/geckos).

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Regenerative Farming

More than 30 Taranaki dairy, sheep and beef farmers are collaborating with scientists, and regenerative agriculture specialists for regenerative farming trials to improve soil, pasture, and animal health.

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Shark Spy Taranaki

Shark Spy is collecting sightings and information on sharks, rays and skates (including egg cases) along Taranaki coastline to help quantify the species diversity, abundance, and more.

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TempoFit - Running in Schools Programme

Taranaki intermediate schools are helping TempoFit launch a pilot of a ground-breaking running and exercise programme for 11 to 13-year-olds.

Pests, Threats and Our Birds

East Taranaki Environment Trust are working with Norfolk School and other partners to understand the difference in native bird life abundance between different pest control areas and establish baseline data for pest control in Everett Park.


A group of Inglewood High School students are investigating how an automated growing system can be developed and how such a system compares to traditional growing methods.

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Soil Your Undies Taranaki

Enviroschools is working with students at four schools on this fun approach to understanding soil biology and the role of earthworms and dung beetles as ecosystem engineers through burying cotton underwear and its comparison to a similar study in Otago.

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Call of Litter Duty

Egmont Village School and Marfell Kindergarten are working with Litter Action NZ to use a new app in investigating where litter in their community comes from and what actions they can take to influence a reduction in litter ending up in the environment.

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What makes the sub-tidal reefs of the Taranaki bight unique? This research project as part of the PSP pilot project reveals.

How do you make a hydrosol? Students from Toko School set out on a journey of discovery with the Curious Minds PSP pilot project.

Curious Minds Taranaki Reports

Curious Minds Taranaki Case Study 2023
Curious Minds Taranaki Case Study 2021
Curious Minds Taranaki Case Study 2020
Summary: The impact and potential role of Curious Minds Taranaki
The Impact and Potential Role of Curious Minds in Taranaki