Archived Seminars

Me Rongo: Moriori Peace, Sustainability, Art and Inclusivity on Rekohu (the Chatham Islands)

Presented by the Otago Rekohu Working Group

Centre for Sustainability Seminar Room, Thursday 9 August, 4-5pm


?Me Rongo? is the Moriori greeting and affirmation for peace and was the title of a Congress held in December last year on Rekohu, known in English as the Chatham Islands, and in Maori as Wharekauri. This seminar is a report on the Me Rongo Congress, from four different perspectives that aim to demonstrate the inclusivity of Moriori as their traditions are rediscovered and reaffirmed.   Heather Devere from the National Peace and Conflict Studies Centre will discuss the Moriori peace tradition, Sam Jackson from Te Tumu will reflect on indigenous connections, Marion Johnson from CSAFE will report on the development of the Moriori ethnobotanical garden, and Justin Maxwell from Anthropology and Archaeology will give an update on the rapid loss of rakau momori, the Moriori carvings upon living trees, and the conservation measures that are needed to preserve in situ those that still remain.

About the speakers:

Dr Marion Johnson is a research fellow at CSAFE. Currently she leads the Indigenous Agroecology project in which the team draw upon M?tauranga Maori to develop a sustainable farming paradigm for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Her work on rongo?  (Maori traditional medicine) for stock  took her to Me Rongo on R?kohu, where she became involved in supporting the Moriori Ethnobotanical garden.

Dr Heather Devere is the Director of Practice at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. She was responsible for setting up the major in Conflict Resolution in the bachelor and masters degrees at AUT Unversity where she has been teaching in politics, ethics and conflict resolution.

She acts as an advocate for mediations involving not-for-profit organisations. Dr Devere has published widely on issues including peace education, women and politics, women in the media, refugee resettlement, children?s rights and the politics of friendship.  

Justin Maxwell is a PhD student in Archaeology at Otago. His research is investigating forest management and arboriculture as a component of Moriori subsistence and settlement. Over the last three years this has involved substantial fieldwork on Rekohu. In the course of this work he has been involved in a collaborative project with the Hokotehi Moriori Trust in the conservation of rakau momori.

Sam Tihoi Jackson is a masters student at Te Tumu. Her thesis explores conflict resolution in a m?ori context, specifically Ng?ti Wh?tua.

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