Native flora database unveiled at Ngā Rongoā Rākau forum
POSTED: 15 June 2018
An impressive multi-disciplinary group of presenters attracted participants from Auckland to Invercargill for a day-long Ngā Rongoā Rākau forum during April, organised by Tuia Innovation at Victoria University’s Rutherford House.
This forum was the culmination of an 18-month Vision Mātauranga-funded research project, a major accomplishment for Tuia Innovation that resulted in an expansive database of scientific literature, research outputs, and analytical data on Aotearoa’s native flora.
We felt it was important to bring these strands of information together in one place in order to give Māori organisations and entities an understanding of the full extent of scientific knowledge in the public domain about our native flora.
The collation of published research also revealed emerging areas of interest by scientists researching flora for leads on new product and drug developments.
- Download the programme for Ngā Rongoā Rākau: opportunities for Māori and Aotearoa New Zealand (880KB)
Until now this information has been closely held by publicly-funded research organisations, often with access limited or controlled, although no sector has what could be regarded as a comprehensive or well-maintained set of data.
For this Māori-good project, Tuia Innovation recruited the talented Amanda Clark as lead researcher and architect of the database. A summary of the research findings was presented by Amanda and Alan Groves at this well-attended event, which was co-hosted by Victoria Business School’s Dr Riri Ellis.
We also unveiled the database and put forward a proposal for the establishment of Ngā Rongoā Rākau Foundation, a charitable trust which is being set up to manage, maintain, and enhance the database.
The objectives of the Trust are to make it of use to Māori groups/entities wanting to develop specialist knowledge, competence and capability in relation to native flora germination, cultivation and propagation purposes; to support native forest restoration or land conversion programmes; for bio-remediation purposes; or to pursue Natural Product developments.
Other presenters on the day included leading botanist Noel Porter, Bio-protection Research Centre Director Travis Glare, Ngāi Tahu flora expert Rob Tipa, and Waikato University’s Dr Maui Hudson.