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Maori Plant Names

2/10/2013 12:43:43 p.m.
Hi - I wonder whether the NZPCN could consider putting in some regional break downs for Te Reo names? I have been increasingly involved in discussion with a number of iwi and kaumatua who are very keen to see the preservation of the names that they use with their rohe - something that is not only cultural but translates directly into eco-sourcing issues and 'habitat restoration'. Consider what we all think is one species - 'kanuka' (Kunzea ericoides agg.) wherein I have thus far recorded the following names - manuoea, manuka, manuka-rauriki, maru, rawiri, rawiritoa, rawirinui, makahikatoa and kopuka - names which actually relate to at least four undescribed species - and only one which actually applies to K. ericoides s.s. (manuoea). This information is rapidly being lost as those who know are aging and dying (two of my Kunzea informants died three years ago). Does the NZPCN think we should make more efforts to save our ethnobotany? Interested to know.
Philip Smith
(Non-member from Auckland)
3/10/2013 7:20:02 p.m.
I think it's a great idea, Peter. I've found the information regarding the multiple names of kanuka to be interesting and useful. A major function of the NZPCN is to record and disseminate information, and ethnobotany is an important field worth conserving. In my experience, much traditional Maori knowledge regarding plants is not readily available, and is poorly represented within literature. A place for ethnobotany within future conferences/initiatives would bring new people/groups into dialogue about our flora. It's also an important aspect of the stories of our native plants.
Do you think that a separate section of the website could be allocated for ethnobotany ? This may be able to function as a repository for knowledge (in a similar way to phenology recording, although clearly with scrutinising, because of the anecdotal nature of the subject).
4/10/2013 10:38:00 a.m.
Good to hear - I think now its up to the NZPCN who monitor these discussions to consider the points we've both raised. If they are interested I have some contacts they can talk to - its worth doing certainly.
5/10/2013 10:29:21 p.m.
Good points raised here, I will bring them to the committee and see how we might accommodate more ethnobotanic information. Several of the Maori names referenced by Peter are recorded on on the Maori Plant Names database http://maoriplantuse.landcareresearch.co.nz/WebForms/PeoplePlantsDetails.aspx?firstcome=firstcome&PKey=86974d3c-11b5-4d76-aa18-ca88747c36ae&theSearchString=kunzea&SearchType=1&SearchPage=0&SearchDB=1&SearchGroup=&FieldSearch1=&FieldSearch2=&FieldSearch3=&Field1=1&Field2=1&Field3=1&FromSearch=true
13/11/2013 4:14:01 p.m.
" Does the NZPCN think we should make more efforts to save our ethnobotany?" Seems fair, is the variation in Maori names geographic or tribal? where there is large variation (e.g. Peter's Kunzea example) is it better served with a separate page linked from the species page? or would it be sufficient to tag each Maori name with the geographic area or tribe for which it applies?

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