July 31, 2018
Seed bank insurance against myrtle rust onslaught
Whanganui River iwi have joined a national initiative to collect and store seeds is a way of potentially saving native trees from extinction.
They have taken delivery of seed banking kits developed as part of a BioHeritage National Science Challenge project to Māori solutions to fight myrtle rust.
BioHeritage Māori manager Melanie Mark-Shadbolt says the special drums will allow community members to collect, dry and store seeds from local taonga plants, especially species such as Pōhutukawa, Manuka and Rata that are at risk from the fungal disease.
She says Māori had been concerned their tikanga was not adequately acknowledged within national or international seed-banking practices, with some sites sacred to Māori being harvested for seeds without consent.
The kits put control in the hands of the community and mean matauranga Māori can be used, such as advice from elders on which trees are best to collect seeds from.
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