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Graeme Atkins finalist in NZ Environmental Hero of the Year Award

We are so happy to let you know that Graeme Atkins, kaitieki, kaimahi for Raukūmara Pae Maunga, endangered species expert, project leader for Tairāwhiti Ngutukākā - East Coast Kakabeak, is being recognised as a finalist in the New Zealand Environmental Hero of the Year Awards!

Graeme Atkins (Ngāti Porou, Rongomaiwahine) is a living embodiment of kaitiakitanga, whose significant contribution to flora conservation extends well beyond his decades of employment as a DOC Ranger.

Growing up in the mighty Te Raukūmara, Graeme learned rongoā from his mother. grandmother and other tribal elders and credits his passion for plants to his tohunga rongoā tīpuna (ancestors). Graeme works with anyone and everyone: whānau, hapū, iwi, landowners, corporates and children of all ages, to do whatever he can to promote, preserve and protect Aotearoa New Zealand’s native plants, particularly in the relatively under-studied East Coast region.

Referred to as the “Māori David Attenborough of plants” in the conservation community, Graeme has demonstrated sustained excellence in botanical discovery and played a pivotal role in protecting many very rare plants (such as ngutukaka (kakabeak, Clianthus maximus), mikokoi (native iris, Libertia cranwelliae), and Putiputi o Te Ao Pouri (Dactylanthus tailorii).


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