The Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research are very pleased to announce that Professor Shaun Ogilvie has been appointed as the Kaihautū Ngātahi, Co-Director-Māori, for the Challenge. Shaun is taking on this role as part of his appointment as Professor of Ecology and the Environment at the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury. Shaun takes over from Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, who we acknowledged and recognised for the exceptional leadership as she stepped down from the role last month.

Professor Shaun Ogilvie, Te Arawa (Ngāti Whakahemo) and Ngāti Awa (Ngāti Pukeko), has a PhD in Ecology from the University of Canterbury and is the Director of Eco Research Associates Ltd, a private environmental research company. Shaun currently co-leads the Challenge’s Strategic Outcome 5 – Supporting Predator Free 2050, and has been a leader in the Challenge for many years, including more recently as an active member of the Māori Leadership Rōpū, Te Aho Mātauranga.

Shaun is also a Māori Business Development Consultant for the Cawthron Institute in Nelson and has been or currently is a contractor to many other organisations, including Lincoln University, Waikato University, Wool Industry Research Ltd, The Environmental Protection Authority, and Scion. Shaun leads Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga’s Electoral College, Te Tira Takimano, and has been a Principal Investigator on many research projects.

Shaun’s expertise will be of great value to the Challenge. He has extensive experience in environmental research with Māori communities and his research interests include the development of techniques for the management of animal pests. Shaun has a personal interest in addressing the challenge and opportunity of ensuring that mātauranga Māori has its rightful place in the management of ngā koiora tuku iho (NZ’s Biological Heritage). “Māori people, values and practices must be better recognised and supported as agents for management transformation” says Shaun.

For Shaun, an important motivator for working in this field is bringing together multiple knowledge systems, having been involved in multiple research programmes and subsequent publications on transdisciplinarity to solve ecological problems.

“It is immensely rewarding to bring together skilled people in mātauranga Māori, science, and technological knowledge systems to solve pest management and wider environmental problems for the protection of tāonga species and ecosystems. There is great opportunity within the Kaihautū Ngātahi role to advance existing relationships with Iwi and hapū, to find innovative solutions to current issues of threat to NZ’s Biological Heritage.”

Shaun commences formally on Monday, 16th August, and we are looking forward to working with him to deliver Biological Heritage’s goals and continuing the momentum to protect Aotearoa’s biodiversity.

Glenice Paine and Rob Phillips, Challenge Co-Chairs
Richard Gordon, Chief Executive, Manaaki Whenua (Challenge Host)

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