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Graeme Atkins joins Endangered Species Foundation as Mātauranga Advisor

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

We are honoured and humbled to let you know that Graeme Atkins, a dedicated advocate for kaitiakitanga, with a lifelong commitment to restoring the ngahere (forests) and native environments of Aotearoa, will be joining the Endangered Species Foundation as an Advisor with key expertise in Mātauranga.

With a passion for preserving the natural heritage of this unique land, Graeme has spent his career working tirelessly to protect and rejuvenate its precious ecosystems.

"I'm deeply passionate about restoring our native biodiversity because it's not just about saving the forests and ecosystems of Aotearoa; it's about safeguarding our cultural and ecological heritage for future generations,” says Graeme.
“As an advocate for kaitiakitanga, I've witnessed the profound connection between people and the land. Our indigenous landscapes hold the stories of our ancestors and the wisdom of Mātauranga Māori, and it's our responsibility to honour and protect that heritage”.

Graeme currently serves as a Kaitieki Ranger in the Raukūmara Pae Maunga Restoration Project, a Māori-led initiative dedicated to the revitalisation of indigenous landscapes. In this role, he is an essential leader and pou in ongoing developments, collaborating closely with local communities, and sharing Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to guide restoration efforts. Graeme's work exemplifies a deep respect for the cultural and ecological significance of the whenua (land).

“In my journey, I've had the privilege of working alongside our hāpori, to use both ancient knowledge and modern conservation science to breathe life back into our precious native environments. Every endangered species, every restored forest, is a testament to our commitment to kaitiakitanga”.

Graeme has also contributed his expertise as a Ranger with the Department of Conservation, where he played a pivotal role in conserving New Zealand's natural treasures. His dedication to the protection of endangered species and ecosystems has been unwavering.

“As a Ranger with the Department of Conservation, I've seen firsthand the urgency of our mission. We're not just conserving natural treasures; we're safeguarding the essence of what makes Aotearoa unique”, says Graeme.

One of Graeme's most significant achievements has been his involvement and leadership of the Ngutukaka project, focused on the replanting and protection of one of Aotearoa's most endangered plant species. This project spans across Tairawhiti and is currently scaling to engage, educate and plant more of these taonga to reach more areas across the east cape.

“When I look at the Ngutukaka project, I see hope,” says Graeme. “We're not only replanting one of our most endangered plant species, we're also planting seeds of awareness and inspiration in the hearts of our communities, from Tairawhiti to the far reaches of the east cape”.

Graeme Atkins's life's work stands as a testament to his dedication to kaitiakitanga and his unwavering commitment to the preservation and restoration of Aotearoa's natural heritage. His unique blend of traditional knowledge and modern conservation practices makes him a pivotal figure in the ongoing efforts to protect the ngahere and native species of Aotearoa.

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