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Ngā tangata o te Marama

Marcus Rongowhitiao Shadbolt

Marcus Rongowhitiao Shadbolt is a Masters student at Te Wāngana o te Waitaha (Canterbury University) and a Research and Policy Analyst at Te Tira Whakamātaki. We’ve asked Marcus to give us some insight onto who he is, what he does, and what inspires him to do the work that he does protecting and safeguarding te taioa.


Ko wai koe? No hea koe?
Who are you?/Where are you from?

Name: Marcus Rongowhitiao Shadbolt

Waka: Tākitimu

Iwi: Te Arawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitane Ngāti Porou, Whakatohea, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu.

Home Town: Rangiora, Waimakariri

Favourite food: Wicked Wings

Hobbies: Gardening, Live music & Reading (fantasy)

He aha tāu mahi?
What do you do?

Professionally, I’m a Kaitātari Rangahau me ngā Kaupapahere, Research & Policy Analyst at Te Tira Whakamātaki (TTW). I act as a kaitonotono or helper across both the research and policy work programmes. Practically this means I sit on many advisory boards and working groups across government, and the research sector, as well as working in our Māori communities to help connect them to helpful projects, pūtea, and otherwise support them in whatever capacity is needed.

On top of my work with TTW, I am also a Masters student studying at Te Wāngana o te Waitaha (Canterbury University). My research is centred around how to store taonga seeds long term both ethically and practically in a te ao Māori context.

He aha te take i whai ai koe i tāu momo mahi?
What made you want to work in your field?

I’ve always been passionate about nature! As a tamariki, I was a bird watcher, rock collector, and spent heaps of time with my whānau at lakes and in the bush on my Koro’s land in the


Wairarapa. At kura, I fell in love with the sciences and this followed me to university where my passion for biology and ecology bloomed. Early on, I was lucky enough to work with a Tūhoe koroua, Jim Tahae Doherty, as part of a summer scholarship in one of my undergrad years. Through this work and with this koroua, I became even more inspired to keep working for and with our people, with our mātauranga and in service of our biodiversity.


This probably also introduced me to my biggest inspiration for my work, People. I am totally and completely inspired by and guided exclusively by the people I meet and cool things I see them doing together.

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He aha te mae nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

- Meri Ngāroto of Te Aupōuri


He aha tētahi mea e whakahihi ana koe?
What's something you're proud of?

I’m excited by all of the work TTW and others have done to date and are continuing to do to create seed banking approaches, capacity and facilities in Aotearoa. This mahi will give tangata whenua and tangata tiriti better tools to protect the biodiversity that matters to us all.


I’m also quite proud of my kai garden at home, I do a lot of work in other places and with other people giving advice and planning projects so it’s nice to be able to do it at home. It’s still small but being able to step outside pull some kai off a plant and eat it right there is an incredible feeling. So many young people think that Kai comes from the supermarket so having my daughter able to be connected to where her food comes from is huge. When we talk about reconnection, food sovereignty, and seed sovereignty this is what it’s all about.

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