Maori bring new forestry perspective

Maori advisory panel

Scion’s Dr Robert Lei (at left) explains waste management technologies to Maori Advisory Panel members: Roku Mihinui (centre) - Chief Executive Officer of Te Arawa Lakes Trust, and James Wheeler - Deputy Chair of the Federation of Maori Authories and Whakatu Incorporation.

Maori own some $2b of forestry assets and are set to have a substantially larger role and influence in the future of New Zealand forestry.

Scion recognises the absolute importance of building high quality, long-term partnerships with Maori.Last year we conducted several hui with a range of iwi to develop our Te Papa Tipu Maori Science and Innovation Plan. The plan has four goals:

1.  Work together to grow co-investment for Maori-led initiatives in forestry and related businesses;

2.  Build dynamic, long-term partnerships with iwi/Maori who have significant interests and/or potential in forestry;

3.  Improve knowledge and technology transfer to iwi/Maori enterprises to support their development of forestry and related enterprises; and,

4.  Increase Maori capabilities and capacity to enable faster innovation by Maori in the forest industry.

I am delighted that we are making good progress on the action plans in all four areas including the formation of Nga Rangitira ropu (or Maori Strategy Advisory Panel) and Hangarau ropu (Maori Technical Advisory group). The former advises the Scion Board and Executive on gaps in our Science and Innovation Framework pertaining to Maori and how implementation of our research can be enhanced with respect to Maori needs. The latter provides us advice on the operational aspects of our research including that matauranga Maori is appropriately incorporated, tikanga is observed and the correct engagement with local hapu occurs.

The inaugural meeting of Nga Rangitira ropu, whose members are Dr Apirana Mahuika (Ngati Porou); Roku Mihinui (Ngati Wahiao/Tuhourangi), James Wheeler (Te Àtiawa, Ngati Whakaue) and Scion’s kaumatua George Mutu (Ngati Whakaue), occurred in February at our Rotorua Campus. We will be incorporating their advice into the update of our Statement of Corporate Intent which is now underway.

It is very positive this year to have the recently completed WoodCo Strategic Action Plan for the New Zealand forest industry and the Forest Owners’ Association Science and Innovation Plan to help us set our science priorities and improve the impact of the work we do on forest industry performance right along the value chain.  

We will also be seeking, as we did last year, a broad base of forest industry stakeholder input to the refresh of our strategy and SCI over the next two months. Part of this work will include a stock take on the progress we have made over the past 12 months. In that regard, any comments you would like to make to me on where we can improve or better direct our science, or about the science described in this edition of Connections, would be most welcome.

Hei kona ra

 Warren Parker's signature

Warren Parker
Chief Executive