Desna Whaanga-Schollum

Taipōrutu, Taonga Tuku Iho. Articulating a Mātauranga Māori ‘Sense of Place’ 

Mātauranga Māori is often only held at an historical or aspirational level within the New Zealand business environment. Māori knowledge has minimal practical weight in decisions regarding business operations for environmental assets. I am interested in how mātauranga Māori may be utilized in a more active manner within ecology-based business. Are there opportunities through improved mātauranga articulation and therefore validation, to improve its role in informing the development of our contemporary ‘cultural landscapes’. Through my study and associated work, I would like to add to the body of tools which move a Māori understanding of place from a cultural heritage and preservation framework to legitimized contemporary business practices.

The creative task is to weave the whakapapa of space and people into a cohesive ‘sense of place’. Oral histories, court records, photographs, indigenous and scientific observations, and collective experiences over timecan purvey something tangible and connective. An intimate experience of place, that augments the positivistic text and mapping language of environmental planning.

– Research and practice towards a Masters in Science Communication, focusing on developing a culturally connected development plan for my whānau farm Taipōrutu at Mahia mai Tawhiti.

– Photography & Graphic Artworks articulating Taipōrutu cultural identity and development of site-specific mauri practice.

[Taipōrutu is one of the case study farms in the Indigenous Agroecology research project, He Ahuwhenua Taketake. He Ahuwhenua Taketake is based at CSAFE, Otago University and funded by Ngā Pae o Te Maramatanga.]


Also… Desna’s personal site here.