Kia ora, Lisa Kanawa, I’m Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Raukawa. I have a Bachelor of Science majoring in Earth Science, a Diploma in Environmental Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management. I’m self-employed, I run a consultancy specialising in Environmental Planning and Policy. So if I want to work through the weekend instead of working on a Monday and Tuesday I will, if I don’t want to do any work during the day and I work through the night that’s a choice that I make.
Doing a degree is more about determination and being able to read and write. It’s just about putting your mind to something and getting it done knowing that it’s going to create another opportunity, even though you don’t know what’s at the other end of the rainbow.
My first job I was working in a café, someone knew I had a degree and I became an Environmental Planner, from there I became an iwi resource manager, from there I worked for government, from there I became self-employed and now I get to work with hapū and marae all over the country. What I love about what I do is empowering hapū and marae and iwi to get a feeling for the environment, and feel that they can express themselves in their own whenua in their own awa. My skill is really just to provide the technical knowledge to help them get there.
I’ve been involved in a few projects, Mara Kai Garden Project, so we provide all the tools and the technical knowledge, we surround them with the right people and as a result they’re able to grow kai as at the kōhanga and have that for lunch, and at the marae they’re able to use that for a tangi or hui and it’s trying to bring back that community and whānau spirit.
I think what I love about doing this work is I don’t have to be in one place, it’s a diversity, it’s doing something different every day, working with people, finding different ways to apply your science and what you know to different situations. It’s really cool – it’s a lifestyle choice, science is a lifestyle choice and I wouldn’t do anything else now.
On November 1st I’ll be doing an 80-day ski to the South Pole with a group of eight women from different continents. How it links to my job and what I do in my career is the focus for the expedition is ‘access to water’, the right for all individuals all over the world to have access to water. So the physical part of the challenge is you know it’s quite hard, but the challenging part of me is how do I communicate this ‘access water’ message back here to New Zealand and make it more real for everybody, how we use water and are we using it appropriately, and how do we look after the resources that we’ve got now to ensure that we have that for our kids to come, cause I’d love for our babies and our kids to still remember those stories that come with the environment, but for that to happen it has to be here. So all of the work that I do is to ensure that we never lose our identity with natural resources, not only as Māori but as individuals, and that recreational use that we have, they have a right to enjoy that just as much as we do.