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Te Mana Motuhake o te Kākanoa
Māori Seed Conservation Hui

Monday 16 October 2023

Rangiora, North Canterbury (in-person and on-line)

This hui was an opportunity for our kaitiaki and seed collecting communities to share information, resources and details about what they are doing to save our seeds from pathogens, extreme weather events, climate change and the commodification of seed systems.


As noted by several speakers, seed saving is intimately linked to the cultural practices of Indigenous Peoples and has been practiced for over 10,000 years. Seeds are also vital for the survival of tāngata Māori, including our economy and culture, and are considered taonga and protected under Article 2 of Te Tiriti as well as, UNDRIP (article 31), the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other Peoples Working in Rural Areas 2018, and the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (2021) - as noted by Aroha Te Pareake Mead in her presentation. 

Speakers also shared the very real impact the latest diseases and changing climate were having on our seeds. They offered information on what work was underway to address those threats.

Below are links to recordings from the hui. These will also be shared via our website. As noted above in the introduction, if you registered for the hui you will receive, via the email address you used to register, a seed report based in part on the hui but also work being pulled together by our seed team. 



Marcus-Rongowhitiao Shadbolt
Marcus-Rongowhitiao (Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) has a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences and philosophy from the University of Canterbury, a Post-graduate Diploma in Applied Science from Lincoln University, and is currently working on his Master’s thesis at the University of Canterbury in seed banking methods and cultural protocols for seed banking. In his presentation, Marcus-Rongowhitiao set the scene noting why seed conservation was vital in this changing world.

Marcus' talk can be found here: "Whare Taonga: Seed Solutions in a Changing World".

Dr Sarah Wyse
Sarah is a lecturer in forest ecology in the School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury.  Sarah’s research interests are in understanding the ecology of our indigenous forests and in conservation of our plant species.  Sarah’s interest in seed banking began while working at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s Millennium Seedbank in the UK. In her presentation, Sarah talked about seed banking our indigenous species and particularly what we know at present about the process of seed banking.

Sarah's talk can be found here: "Seed Banking our Indigenous Species: What do we know?".

Dr Jessica Hutchings
Dr Jessica Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Huirapa, Gujarati) is nationally and internationally recognised as a leader in Indigenous food systems and Māori food and soil sovereignty. She is a founding Trustee of the Papawhakaritorito Charitable Trust that works to uplift Māori food and soil sovereignty and Hua Parakore (Māori organics) through research, development and community practice. She lives on 12 acres and is a Hua Parakore verified family food grower. Jessica has been a member of Te Waka Kai Ora - the Māori Organics Authority for the last two decades. In addition to her roles, Jessica is a widely published author, her recent books including Te Mahi Oneone Hua Parakore: A Māori Soil Sovereignty and Wellbeing Handbook and Te Mahi Māra Hua Parakore: A Māori Food Sovereignty Handbook. Dr Hutchings has been working at the crossroads of Indigenous knowledge, whānau and environmental wellbeing for the last three decades and is passionate about Indigenous social justice, organic farming and self-determination. She was named as a finalist in 2023 for the New Zealander of the Year in the Environment category as well as being named one of New Zealand’s top 50 influential women in food and drink. In her presentation, Jessica shared her recent experiences looking at seed, soil and food sovereignty initiatives around the world.

Jessica's talk is here: "Indigenous Seed Sovereignty: What can we learn from other Indigenous communities". 

Waipaina Awarau Morris
Waipaina is of Ngāti Porou descent and raised in Ngāti Porou on the East Coast. She has represented Māori in seed banking kaupapa, as mana whenua and a botanist in response to biosecurity threats. Her work has been supported by Te Tira Whakamātaki, and the Millennium Seedbank, Kew Gardens (UK). She has worked as a researcher representing mana whenua in her Iwi/hapū and is still actively involved with different kaupapa research with tangata whenua around the motu. Waipaina is currently a Kairangahau in the Māori Research and Partnerships Team at AgResearch and leads biosecurity kaupapa in B3 (Better Border Biosecurity) at national and international levels. In her talk, Waipaina talked about ways to protect our taonga plant species. Waipaina's talk is here: "Kaitiekitanga: Protecting taonga plant species". 

Te Aroha Drummond
Te Aroha describes herself as a seed hunter, people gatherer, and Ngāti Mahuta ki tai Waikato staunch. Others describe her as passionate, knowledgeable, friendly and funny. In her talk, Te Aroha noted the work she does with whānau, hapū and marae in the nursery and seed space.

Te Aroha's talk can be found here: "Working with whānau to build nursery knowledge and practice". 

Aroha Te Pareake Mead
Aroha is of Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Tūhourangi, Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent and has many roles including being a representative on the board of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, an independent researcher, as well as a member of the New Zealand Conservation Authority, the Kāhui Rangatira of Te Tira Whakamātaki, the Repatriation Advisory Panel of NZ’s National Museum - Te Papa Tongarewa, and as the Chair Emeritus for the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy. Aroha has worked at local, national, regional and international levels for over 40 years on Indigenous rights, with a particular focus on Indigenous cultural and intellectual property issues including biocultural heritage, conservation, Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous data governance. In her presentation, Aroha shared her immense knowledge on the international policy context, noting three initiatives that relate specifically to seed conservation.

Aroha's talk is here: "Māori rights and interests in the conservation space". 

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt
Mel is of Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Atiawa, Rangitane, Raukawa, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent. In terms of her roles, Mel is not only the Tumu Whakarae CEO of Te Tira Whakamātaki, she’s also the Kaihautu Ngātahi Director Māori of NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, and Chair of NZ’s Resilience to Natures Challenges National Science Challenge, and B3 Better Border Biosecurity. Mel is an Indigenous environmental advocate who specialises in understanding and applying mātauranga Māori to biosecurity and biodiversity issues. She has a specific interest in decolonising ideologies of conservation and restoration in order to address injustices and harm caused to Indigenous peoples and our planet. In a former life, Mel’s work as the Deputy Secretary Māori Rights & Interests at the Ministry for the Environment saw her named the NZ Public Policy Westpac Women of Influence in 2021, and her team at the Ministry named the 2021 Diversity Works - Mātauranga Māori Award winners, as well as being named finalist in the Māori Crown Relationships section of the Governments Spirit of Service Awards in 2021. In her presentation, Mel discussed TTW's seed conservation plans.

Mel's talk can be found here: "Where to from here? TTW's vision for our kete". 


Watch TTW's socials and future newsletters for future SEED events and resources!

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