It is early days but the path to establishing a presence in the Pacific where Tahuri Whenua kaupapa and values can support similar initiatives is now happening. (Picture below taken at Pahiatua Marae and a number of Pacific participants at the hui)
The foundation discussion document for the Pacific interests is as follows:
Our Pacific contacts and students have represented a diverse group of interests from those involved in the horticulture sector at many levels including growers, students, advisors, researchers to those at the national policy and political levels. These same interests have suggested that Tahuri Whenua is a model for indigenous collaboration in the food production area and look to it as something that could be recreated in their own countries with a view to building strength for the indigenous communities, especially in how they will collaborate or respond to issues such as climate change, disaster resilience or food and knowledge security. Conversely, we also have our members (Māori) participating in the Pacific with projects, including VSA initiatives, where a Pacific association would benefit them on the ground (e.g. a VSA project in PNG on kūmara and MFAT funded project on cocoa systems in Samoa). With this in mind they have suggested we consider a Pacific branch of Tahuri Whenua and the initial ‘committee’ with the Pacific interest be drawn from recent and current participants with the Massey Projects. This group will represent Fiji (Mesulame Tora, Suliasi Vunibola and several others), Papua New Guinea (Julius Maot, Saii Semese and several others), Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, and Tuvalu. Recognising the wider opportunity – including markets and branding opportunity, there is room for the Pacific interest to be extended to include those countries in the Eastern region of the Pacific with a number of indigenous groups we (Nick and others) already have had an interaction with (Easter Island, South American interests such as Chile/Mapuche Indians and Peru/Quechua Indians, Meso-American interests such as in Mexico and Guatemala, Hawaii and North American Interests such as the Makah Indians, Washington State, USA).
The Proposal therefore is:
- To establish a Pacific – Te Moana nui ā Kiwa – branch of Tahuri Whenua which will allow for the development of relationships across our cultures and for future collaborations to involve a wider interest group & location.
- To undertake a summer project based at Massey University to define the role and benefits of this new Pacific – Te Moana nui ā Kiwa – entity, including the process of measuring success.
Suliasi Vunibola (Fiji) who is currently assisting the collective through his development studies project will be helping us to undertake this.
Suli can be contacted at - email Suli
Also assisting is Saii Semese in Papua New Guinea - his contact is here - email Saii.