M O R I B U S I N E S S Ignoring the contribution of traditional Mãori knowledge and related innovations 14 MARCH 2016 in addressing world food shortages could hinder the incorporation of proven traditional food production methods into scientifi c technological approaches. This is the view of Aucklander Mariaelena Huambachano, a Kiwi researcher with Peruvian origins who believes that given the world’s need to feed an estimated 9.6 billion people by 2050, value must be placed on indigenous traditional food production within the world’s contemporary business frameworks. Since completing a pilot study while living with indigenous people in the Andes and Amazon in Peru over the past two years, Huambachano is now collating information from Mãori folklore, and says both cultures include practices and innovation that are largely overlooked by experts working to achieve world food security. And she is calling on New Zealand By Kathryn Calvert food producers to value the vast knowledge of agricultural biodiversity preservation intertwined with cultural values inherited from indigenous ancestors. “Relationships between indigenous people and their knowledge, and commercial food producers around the world, need to include respect and acceptance,” Huambachano says. “For New Zealand, the issues of food security and sovereignty are extremely important and, if we address them properly, could elevate even more our green and safe food reputation in global markets desperate for sustainable food,” she says. “We consumers have essentially lost control globally over how, where and by whom our food is produced, and we have no idea what we put on our plates and into our mouths. We have no sense of the history of the food we consume, and we need to fi ght to regain that knowledge.” Huambachano says using traditional techniques such as those developed by ancient Mãori – which tend to use ethical practices, rituals and holistic cultural values ingrained into them to achieve a ‘Mãori legacy’ of sustainable food produce – could be a vital marketing angle for New Zealand in the future. She is investigating the indigenous ‘good living’ philosophies of ‘Te rongo me te Ãtanoho’ in Maori and ‘Allin Kawsay’ in Andean to see how much they can contribute to food security in both countries. Also, she is crafting an indigenous research framework referred to as the ‘Khipu Andean Model’ to guide her research in a culturally sensitive manner. She is chronicling indigenous peoples’ food systems and archival texts, as well as conduct- TRADITIONAL M ORI FOOD PRODUCTION KNOWLEDGE BEING LOST Aucklander Mariaelena Huambachano (left) with Peruvian farmers.
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