TMBC myrtle rust wananga

As the sunshine beamed through the windows of the Mount Ocean Sports Club, a group of tangata whenua, scientists, local council and conservationists came together for the first TMBC Māori Caucus myrtle rust wānanga. 

Looking at the majestic view of the harbour and Mauao, the group shared scientific findings about the current status of myrtle rust throughout NZ, discussed the role of tangata whenua in the surveillance and monitoring the whenua for its presence as well as possible solutions to ‘manage’ its impact on species affected. 

The first session was heavily focused on the scientific perspective and included Alby Marsh from B3, Dr Beccy Ganley from TMBC/Plant & Food Research, Dr Robert Beresford from Plant & Food Research and Dr Michael Bartlett from Scion who talked about the impact the pathogen is having and different ways myrtle rust can be managed.

The next session included a webinar presentation by Marcus-Rongowhitiao Shadbolt and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt from Te Tira Whakamātaki, sharing solutions for seed harvesting and storage and the best practice options for this mahi. Josh from Tauranga City Council gave an update on the Mauao, followed by a presentation on long-term management options by Beccy Ganley.  The day was capped off by a presentation from Waitangi Wood on the e ao Māori approach to the kaupapa of data management and its sovereignty.

A TMBC myrtle rust Facebook group has been set up and will be used to share information from these talks.

This wānanga signifies the beginning of a project lead by the TMBC Māori Caucus thanks to funding from the NZ Bioheritage Challenge. The project involves developing a strategy for long-term management of myrtle rust in Tauranga Moana, involving input from hapū across Tauranga Moana and working alongside the scientific community. 

Sarah Lewis, TMBC