Visionaries & mentors

Prof Henrik Moller

Henrik is a passionate advocate of conservation through sustainable use of land and resources. Much of his 25 years of research and teaching about environmental management has sought to empower individuals, families and local communities to achieve more sustainable and resilient lifeways. Henrik’s research and collaborative learning techniques to enable ‘bottom-up’ approaches for improved environmental and social wellbeing have been complemented by ongoing advice to national-level policy-makers for improved management of both production landscapes and protected natural areas. Henrik applies population and community ecology to identify practical tools and strategies for efficient pest control, conservation, and sustainable land and resource management.

Trevor Howse

Trevor worked for the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for many years in a diverse range of roles including the management of the land bank process between Ngāi Tahu and the Crown as part of Te Kereme and the subsequent Settlement.  He was a member of the Ngāi Tahu negotiating team that developed the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement with the Crown and especially guided the Mahinga Kai parts of the negotiations. Trevor then served as chairman of the now disestablished Mahinga Kai Tikanga o Ngāi Tahu Komiti and was an instrumental member of the Ngāi Tahu fisheries team that developed the South Island Customary Fishing Regulations with the Ministry of Fisheries and the eight iwi of Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Māui. He also was the Kaitohutohu for the Ngāi Tahu Customary Fisheries Unit for many years.

Throughout his retirement years, Trevor continued to support the iwi and actively shared his knowledge and mentored anyone who needed his help. He became actively involved in Kaupapa Taiao (Ngāi Tahu Environment Unit established in 1999), and through this took a leading role in establishing the Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project – a project dedicated towards using the latest Geographical Information System technology to record, map and transmit traditional Ngāi Tahu knowledge. In 2013 Trevor was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for his services to Māori and to conservation.

Trevor is remembered by the “Trevor Hapi Howse Environmental Scholarship”, which involves searching for young Ngāi Tahu who will continue Trevor’s legacy of upholding the customary rights and kaitiaki responsibilities of Ngāi Tahu whānui in protecting Te Ao Tūroa (the natural environment) of Te Wai Pounamu.

Rau Kirikiri

Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.

Tēnā rawa atu tātou katoa. Greetings. I’m Rau Kirikiri and I hail from Te Kaha, on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. However, I currently reside in Wellington, from whence I endeavor to make my contribution to the Tiaki Mahinga Kai project. My background is grounded in tikanga Māori tinged with smatterings of public service and science research experience. I am an independent consultant on Māori science research-related issues like this one – for which I might add I have an intense interest in. My association with Henrik Moller and others in the team goes back to my time with Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (in the early 1990’s), through the Kia Mau te Tītī Mo Ake Tonu Atu programme. Manaaki Whenua and the Zoology Department at Otago University shared a burning belief in co-management principles, such as they were at that time, and that commitment has continued to this day. I have always believed that this country’s conservation ethic is deeply rooted in both traditional and scientifically based observations and practical implementation. The Tiaki Mahinga Kai project aims to demonstrate this, and whatever I can do to make this happen I regard as being highly rewarding. My focus is on ensuring that traditional Māori management practices are enriched with science-based investigation to produce contemporary fisheries management regimes that are both sustainable and beneficial to the country as a whole. Mine is to provide support to the efforts of the highly skilled science and local community expertise that the project has successfully drawn together. I don’t regard myself as a kaumātua – I’m far too young for that – and I am not formally qualified in the sort of science that this project requires. But I have much experience in working with iwi around the country on environmental management matters, and in banging heads with bureaucrats in Wellington (and elsewhere), to hopeful contribute positively to making the difference that I believe we all want to see through this project.

Mr. Nicholas Graham (Tiny) Metzger

Kāi Tahu whānui, (Awarua Rūnaka).  Descending from the nineteenth century unions of Meriana Teitei and the English whaler William Isaac Haberfield from Moeraki, and Popoia and the sealer Joesph Honor from Whenua Hou, Tiny is a kaumātua from Bluff and is actively involved with Awarua Rūnaka and Te Rau Aroha Marae. He acts as a cultural mentor to many of the students contributing to Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai.  Tiny was brought up in traditional life-ways of southern Māori: he has had a lifetime (75 years so far and going strong!) of practicing customary harvesting of a wide variety of mahinga kai – his household and many of his whānau still mainly survive by wild food gathering, gardening and food exchange.  He has maintained the tikanga of his people and has taught his mokopuna the knowledge he gained from his own pōua and  tāua.  Tiny is probably best known for his participation in the annual tītī harvest because he and his whānau are one of the few that still pack preserved tītī into pōhā (“kelp-bags”). Each year he monitors and selects rimurapa (Bull kelp lamina) for making the traditional storage vessels, and cuts the plants left in situ to manipulate their growth form for next year’s harvest. Over his lifetime he has had to shift his traditional rimurapa gathering areas because land-use and pollution issues have decimated the kelp beds He therefore has a detailed knowledge of kelp and its role as an indicator and provider of shelter and food for mahinga kai.  Tiny is a designated Tangata Tiaki for the Murihiku region (Milford Sound to Balclutha) and is intimately involved in customary fishing management. He is a shareholder in and Deputy Chairman of the Waitutu Incorporation which manages land and assets resulting from the South Island Landless Natives Act 1906 and the Waitutu Settlement Act 1997. Tiny was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 1996 and  He Tohu a Tā Kingi Ihaka from Te Waka Toi in 2004 for sustained service to Māori culture.  Tiny has been one of the main instigators of Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai, from concept inception, work on the steering group, and vigorous networking and support of its kaupapa within Ngāi Tahu whānui.  His long involvement with the Kia Mau te Tītī Mo Ake Tōnu Atu research project has also meant he has a growing understanding of the constraints and needs of science, and the threats and opportunities resulting from its interface with mātauranga Māori. He is actively involved in tribal wānanga, most lately the Ahoi te Rangi Trust.  Funded by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu through the Ngāi Tahu Fund, the trust teaches tribal members traditional weaving skills that were almost lost.  This includes teaching how to enhance and prepare natural resources used in weaving such as harakeke, pingao and kiekie.  You can contact Tiny by Email: (c/o Gail Thompson) at: or by phone and fax at (03) 212-8514.

Professor Khyla Russell (Kāi Tahu)

Khyla lives at Karitāne and is Tangata Tiaki for Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki Rūnaka. Khyla’s  PhD was on Kai Tahu’s concepts of ecological landscapes, and Khyla provides a broad range of support and guidance for researchers and students within Te Tiaki Mahinga Kai.  Khyla is an active gatherer of kai moana and has strong connections to, and interests in, mahinga kai.


Chris Hepburn, Marine Sciences Department, University of Otago
Office: 310 Castle Street, Room 144  |  Tel: 64 3 479 7462  |  Email: