Rotorua Weekender - 2021-10-15


Decades-long journey to Scion finally Sees unique partnership bloom


It’s been a long time gestating but mana whenua and a Crown Research Institute have produced a true partnership in Rotorua. This will be formalised in a Kawenata between Nga Hapu e Toru o Ngati Whakaue; Ngati Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngati Taeotu, Ngati Te Kahu and Scion. And both parties are thrilled that a journey started decades ago by the likes of the late Ben Hona has come to fruition. The land where Scion sits has great significance for Ngati Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngati Taeotu, Ngati Te Kahu. It was a place where whanau lived, hunted the ngahere for kai such as birds, berries, pikopiko, fern root, kauka . The Puarenga Stream had shags, ducks, koura, inanga and toitoi. Kakahi could be found at nearby Owhatiura. The Scion site is part of the rohe of Tuteata, who is the shared ancestor of the three hapu. Tuteata’s rohe stretched from Moerangi, to Owhatiura, to Hemo Gorge. Ngati Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngati Taeotu, Ngati Te Kahu have an outstanding, unsettled Waitangi Tribunal claim (Wai 533) to the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and Whakarewarewa State Forest. In more recent times, during World War II women from Ngapuna and Whakarewarewa worked in the nursery at Scion’s predecessor - the NZ Forest Research Institute. Scion Chief Executive Officer Dr Julian Elder (pictured) says this partnership is unique, compared to projects where Scion’s scientific knowledge helped with environmental threats such kauri dieback or projects with other iwi such as in Te Tai Tokerau Tairawhiti and Tuwharetoa. Dr Elder pays tribute to the hapu for the gift of the name Tuteata for Te Whare Nui o Tuteata which has pride of place on site at Titokorangi Drive off Tarawera Road. Veronica Butterworth and Hokimate Kahukiwa are the hapu representatives and they are assisted by hapu member Pauline Tangohau. All are committed to caring for the land and to enhancing education and career opportunities for rangatahi. A major priority is sharing the kawa and tikanga of the hapu within Scion and normalising hapu values. Veronica Butterworth said one of the most positive outcomes of the partnership was the recognition of matauranga Maori, such as the pa harakeke project supporting an extensive collection of flax cultivars which has been gifted to Scion. Pauline Tangohau appreciates the fact that the hapu representatives are not just there to “tick the boxes”. Hokimate Kahukiwa acknowledged the efforts of many different people to build this partnership including the Scion Board (chaired by Dr Helen Anderson) and various Scion staff alongside Dr Elder such as Aaron Judson, Rob Trass, Hemi Rolleston and Nelson Meha. An innovative, positive outcome of the partnership is the new position in Scion, dedicated to building relationships with tangata whenua. The role reports to Ngati Hurunga Te Rangi, Ngati Taeotu, Ngati Te Kahu and Scion. Tamara Mutu has taken up that role as Hunga Whakahaere Matua / Operations manager. She will look for mutually beneficial opportunities across Scion’s operations. She will also work with the various other tenants at the Scion site. Timberlands and Te Uru Rakau are two of those key tenants and they have made a strong commitment to build a relationship with the three hapu. The partnership is a celebration of a new world and new beginnings.


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