Robert McGowan accepts the Loder Cup Award for 2018 from the Minister of Conservation Hon Eugenie Sage
Photo: Amanda Aitken
The Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board nominated Robert McGowan as the Winner of the 2018 Loder Cup. This nomination received extensive support from iwi and plant conservation networks.
Robert is the Amo Aratu for Ngā Whenua Rāhui, a contestable ministerial fund established in 1991 to protect the natural integrity of Māori land and preserve mātauranga Māori, and this role has concrete outcomes in restoration and regeneration of indigenous flora on Māori land. He has helped to establish nurseries throughout the country, mostly for Māori land owners working to restore their own landscapes. Through this work hundreds of thousands of locally grown native plants have been planted.
As a fluent speaker of te reo Māori and a national expert on rongoā Māori, traditional Māori medicine, He runs workshops on rongoā Māori nationally, and has thus been promoting this knowledge for the past 25 years. His workshops instruct people in the use of Māori medicinal plants in a cultural context, passing on his knowledge so it is retained and teaching his students to cherish the world in which they belong to. In teaching people to care for the health of the land he has been involved in a number of projects for the restoration of indigenous flora.
Robert is the Current Chair of the Kaimai-Mamaku Catchments Forum. He is one of the founders of Tane’s Tree Trust, a non-profit charitable trust that was established more than 10 years ago to encourage New Zealand landowners to plant and sustainably manage indigenous trees for multiple uses. He provided input into aspects of intellectual property issues relating to Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 report. He was a long-time member and past chairperson on the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board, and the list goes on.
His contribution to the conservation of New Zealand’s flora has been through his endless support of others, reshaping our culture towards a greater appreciation for our land.