September 25, 2018
Conservation prize for rongoā champion
A rongoā Māori expert who has promoted the use of mātauranga Māori in conservation management for more than two decades has been awarded one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, the Loder Cup.
Robert McGowan has helped to establish nurseries throughout the country, mostly for Māori land owners working to restore their own landscapes.
He chairs the Kaimai-Mamakū Catchments Forum and is one of the founders of the non-profit Tāne’s Tree Trust which encourages landowners to plant and sustainably manage indigenous trees for multiple uses.
He is also the Amo Aratū for Ngā Whenua Rāhui, a contestable ministerial fund established in 1991 to protect the natural integrity of Māori land and preserve mātauranga Māori.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says since 1926 Loder Cup has honoured New Zealanders who work to investigate, promote, retain and cherish indigenous flora.
She says Mr McGowan has been particularly active in passing along his knowledge of the plants Māori use for healing and teaching his students to cherish the world in which they belong.
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