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The People, Cities & Nature team are undertaking internationally-leading research focused on urban nature and the benefits of connecting urban New Zealanders to their biological heritage. Our Research Programme seeks to improve the quality of life, health and economic wellbeing in New Zealand's cities and towns through advanced understanding of urban ecology and the creation of flourishing natural environments. Our research findings will be available in early 2021.

Our Research Programme has six teams focused on different, but interrelated subject areas:


Urban ecological restoration often begins with native plantings. Our plantings research team have characterised plantings of different ages in New Zealand's towns and cities to better understand the requirements for efficiency and success of these important projects.


Little is currently known about where and how lizards survive in New Zealand's urban environments. Our lizards research team have investigated how predator control, habitat size and complexity, and environmental factors relate to urban lizard diversity and abundance.


Effective pest control in towns and cities requires a greater understanding of urban mammalian predators. Our predators research team have investigated the distribution and abundance of key mammal pests in urban settings and best practice approaches for their control.

Māori values

Urban restoration projects intersect environmental, cultural and economic elements but little is known about the application of Māori values and priorities. Our Māori values research team have investigated Māori involvement in urban restoration and how kaitiakitanga can be facilitated.

Green space benefits

Greater engagement of people with urban restoration projects would be beneficial for native biodiversity and human health. Our green space benefits research team have investigated what motivates New Zealanders of different ethnicities to use green space and engage in urban restoration.

Cross-sector alliances

Cross-sector alliances involve government, business and civil society working together to achieve environmental and social outcomes. Our cross-sector alliances team have identified how these arrangements can be structured and implemented to achieve effective urban ecological restoration in New Zealand.

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The six People, Cities & Nature teams have been conducting research across major New Zealand cities.