About Matua Hori
Hori is a descendant of Ngātiwai, a Māori tribal group that is unified by its descent from one of the oldest lineages in the Taitokerau (northern region of the North Island).
Of particular relevance to this visit is an ancestral connection that Hori has, via his ancestor Mahanga-i-te-Rangi, to the British Royal Family. In 1804 Mahanga-i-te-Rangi who was in awe of the fact that the English had one King and one God, which differed from the multiple Ariki and multiple Māori deity that existed in Māori society, was invited by a medical doctor Dr John Savage to accompany him back to England where he arranged an audience with an elderly King George III and Queen Charlotte. This event is forever immortalised in the names of the descendants of Mahanga-i-te-Rangi including Hori, which is the Māori name for George.
Hori had a distinguished career in the armed services (Malaya, Singapore and Borneo) before spending 16 years in Australia, deep sea diver, mineral prospector. At the bequest of his mother Hori returned to his homeland and became an active participant in proceedings regarding Māori land ownership rights and the exploitation and commercialisation of natural resources.
Hori has been involved in politics at the national (Māori political party experience), local and regional councils, the later where he was central in the development of the Ngātiwai environmental planning statement – a statutory recognised planning document that establishes baseline Māori principles for councils. He has also been involved in central government agencies including the former Environmental Risk Management and latterly the Environmental Protection Authority, where Hori has served as a member of the national Māori Network of environmental practitioners for over 20 years (Ngā Matakiria, practitioners; Ngā Parirau o te Mātauranga, elder steering group), and as a member of the Ministry of Primary Industries Kauri Dieback Advisory Group that has secured considerable funding to assist ongoing Māori efforts to eradicate this plant pathogen.
Hori also has considerable experience in the governance and management of Māori lands to provide benefits (e.g., housing, advocate for youth issues including creating employment opportunities) to those land owners. Further Hori has, and continues to be, a staunch advocate of Māori cultural rights and cultural practices including lodging and providing evidence for the Waitangi Tribunal Claim 262 (more commonly known as the Flora and Fauna Claim) on behalf of a claimant group for Ngātiwai and working closely with the other key claimants Saana Murray and Del Wihongi. He has also participated in the Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual property Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In line with this Hori has been a consistent voice holding the New Zealand Government accountable in their management of the natural environment as required under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding constitutional document, as required according to the relevant legislation under which government is beholden to. One example of this is the role Hori has fulfilled for seven years as a member of the Northland Conservation Board. In recognition of his considerable service to his people and environment Hori has received numerous accolades including the Northland Regional Council award in 2022 for environmental leadership.
This has been the catalyst for his ground-breaking work in reinvigorating and re-establishing Māori authority and control over the protection and enhancement of natural environments and the life contained therein (kaitiakitanga). Hori still remains very active in the protection of our natural environment and continued connection and use of natural resources. For example, his seminal work on dead beach-cast whalebone retrieval and health and safety procedures has led to the establishment of a specialised team to carry the flensing kaupapa, to assist coastal Māori tribes across New Zealand re-engage in processing stranded whales His work is not only recognised nationally but Hori is part of the New Zealand indigenous representative team to present their case the International Whaling Commission where he has travelled to conferences in Faroe Islands, Australia and in Chile.
Learn more about Hori here.