Fri 2 Nov 2018

Praising the food garden

WITT Research Seminar returns to an evening format next week when the topic for discussion will be the contribution of māra kai towards restoring the environment.

In this context māra kai refers to a community garden - one of several initiatives Ngāti Tāwhirikura hapū have developed in New Plymouth to help restore their social and environmental wellbeing.

 “Māra kai ki Kātere – Kaitiakitanga in Action" will be presented next Thursday (November 8) by Ken Taiapa and māra kai expert Glen Skipper.

The lecture will be in B Block, room B312 starting at 6.30pm and as refreshments will be provided, organiser Diana Fergusson is asking potential attendees to RSVP her at

Ken Taiapa is a doctoral candidate at Massey University and is the Kaiārahi at WITT. His doctoral studies are focused on kaitiakitanga and the contribution māra kai make towards restoring the environment alongside other important public health outcomes.

Glen Skipper is a Taranaki māra kai expert who is of Ngāti Tāwhirikura descent. He is the past chairperson of the Ngāti Tāwhirikura Hapū A Trust and is the driving force behind development and maintenance of the Kātere marae community gardens in Waiwhakaiho.

The gardens were left largely abandoned for 60 years, but Glenn Skipper was part of a group, which has successfully nurtured them back into production. The hapu took advice from horticultural scientists, crop technicians and soil specialists.

Ken and Glen will talk about the (re)connection of Ngāti Tāwhirikura hapū to their turangawaewae as they express and explore their kaitiakitanga through developing and implementing māra kai and other related initiatives.

This week’s lecture, in the WITT boardroom on Monday, featured WITT tutor Yimei Man who discussed earnings management practices in Chinese listed companies.


Pictured: Ngāti Tāwhirikura hapu revived gardens that had been left abandoned for 60 years.