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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2014) 58(4): 8–12
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Feature article
A new look at sustainable forestry of the future: Aotearoa-New Zealand philosophy

Manuka Henare 1

1 Director of the Mira Szászy Research Centre, University of Auckland Business School

According to Maori philosophy and understanding of the spiritual world, cosmos, nature and the natural world, all of creation, including the forest and its inhabitants, stems from the spiritual world and over time is gifted by spiritual ancestors to the natural material world and humanity. Rakau rangatira, i.e. the great trees of the forest, are among the most ancient in our part of the universe. Their antecedents appeared during the Jurassic period, between 190 and 135 million years ago. They are thus a taonga tuku iho of the ancestral spiritual world of the Supreme Being, Io Matua Kore, followed through aeons to Ranginui and Papatuanuku, Father Sky and Mother Earth, and their child Tane. As Suzuki and Grady (2004) have written, all trees attest to the wonder of evolution, the ability of life to adapt to unexpected challenges, and to perpetuate itself over vast periods of time. Rooted securely in the earth, trees reach for the heavens. First arrival Take your mind back to the time of Kupe, the East-Polynesian explorer-trader. In 925 AD, Kupe together with his wife Kuramarotini voyaged from the northeast Pacific, thought to be the direction of the earthly Hawaiki, in their canoe Mata-whaorua. It was Kuramarotini who, upon sighting a long, large white cloud, excitedly pointed to the land naming it Aotearoa – the Land of the Long White Cloud. On arrival, these first human visitors were confronted with a large complex ecosystem and environment spanning 1,600 kilometres from north to south that was alien to the ecosystem of Hawaiki.
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