Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu

Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu

  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Advised by: Dr. Kevin Hockett
315 Buckhout Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Microbe-microbe interactions
  • Microbe-host interactions
  • Microbiomes/Phytobiomes
  • Māori science and Mātauranga Māori


  • B.S. and B.A. conjoint majoring, Biological Sciences, Māori Studies, and Writing Studies, The University of Auckland
  • Postgraduate Diploma, Science, specialisation in Biological Sciences, with Distinction, The University of Auckland
  • M.S. Biological Sciences, First Class Honours, The University of Auckland

Research Interests

Pseudomonas syringae is a foliar bacterial pathogen with a wide host range and is responsible for a number of economically important diseases. In addition, P. syringae serves as a model for understanding host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions. Bacteriocin activity has been shown to provide a fitness benefit for the producing strain in animals and laboratory settings.

My research focuses on the dynamics of microbe-microbe interactions within the plant environment to understand when and where bacteriocins are beneficial for the producer. Furthermore, as bacteriocins are thought of as potential biological control agents, this work will aid our understanding of how to effectively employ them in plant environments.

As an Indigenous scientist from Aotearoa, New Zealand I highly value integrating my cultural values, identity, and language in my career and research aspirations. I understand that both Indigenous and western science approaches and perspectives have their strengths and can greatly complement one another.

Grants and Awards

  • Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Doctoral Scholarship, Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board, New Zealand Ministry of Education, Wellington, NZ. 2021.
  • 20th I. E. Melhus Graduate Student Symposium Award, APS Foundation Board, St. Paul, MN. 2021.
  • IndigiData Indigenous Data Science Workshop Awardee, Native BioData Consortium, Eagle Butte, SD. 2021
  • Microbiome Center Video Competition, First place winner https://psu.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/t/1_y34x7i9l 
  • SACNAS Travel Scholarship, SACNAS, Santa Cruz, CA. 2020.
  • Lester P. Nichols Memorial Award, Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Department, University Park, PA. 2019.
  • Northeast SARE Graduate Student Award, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE), VT - Development of microbial communities suppressive towards tomato foliar pathogens. 2019.
  • Phytobiomes Fellowship, Penn State Microbiome Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. 2019.
  • Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association & Vegetable Marketing and Research Program Funding, K. L. Hockett & H. Ehau-Taumaunu. 2019.
  • Rose Hellaby Postgraduate Scholarship - Developing today's students into tomorrow's leaders thereby benefitting their Whānau / Iwi and the wider community, Rose Hellaby Trust and Māori Education Trust, Wellington, New Zealand. 2018.
  • Herbert Cole Jr. Fund for Plant Pathology And Environmental Microbiology Award. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. 2018.
  • SACNAS Travel Scholarship, SACNAS, Santa Cruz, CA. 2018.
  • APS General Graduate Travel Award, APS Foundation Board, St. Paul, MN. 2018.
  • Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Graduate Award – In recognition of excellence in educational achievement and participation in New Zealand Fulbright program, Wellington, New Zealand. 2017.
  • Funds for Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR), The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. 2017.


Richards NK, Ehau-Taumaunu H, Ferguson CM. (2017) DNA from 33-year-old dried moth specimens help confirm larva as the elusive Wiseana fuligenea. New Zealand Plant Protection 70:235-240.

Community Service and Involvement

Māori and Student Representative of Australasian Plant Pathology Society Executive Committee. 2019-2021.

Social Media Coordinator of APS Graduate Committee, American Phytopathology Society. 2020-2021.

Secretary of the Penn State SACNAS Chapter. 2019-2021.

President of the Plant Pathology Association, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. 2019-2020.

Co-founder and member of the Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 2018-2020.

Volunteer for the Penn State Open STEM House weekend. 2019

Treasurer of the Plant Pathology Association, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. 2018-2019.