"I admire the work Robert McGowan has done over the past 25 years to ensure conservation management work is informed and enhanced by mātauranga Māori, and I congratulate him as the 2018 winner of the Loder Cup," Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says.
Gerald Loder donated the Loder Cup in 1926 to 'encourage and honor New Zealanders who work to investigate, promote, retain and cherish our indigenous flora'. The cup acknowledges individuals and groups who make an outstanding contribution to conserving New Zealand's native plants.
"I particularly want to acknowledge Robert's expertise on rongoā Māori, where he has been active in passing along his knowledge so it is retained and teaching his students to cherish the world in which they belong.
"Robert 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.
Robert McGowan 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. He is the Current Chair of the Kaimai-Mamaku Catchments Forum and 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.
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.
(With inputs from New Zealand Government press release)