GWNZ Fellowship, 2020

Angelia Hura

  Angelia is a female Māori Geneticist enrolled in a PhD in Conservation Biology at Massey University (Manawatu). Her PhD project is an iwi/hapu led initiative which arose due to the concerns they had over the wellbeing of the kiwi in their rohe.

Iwi/hapu are key collaborators in this project as they are the kiatiaki (guardians) over the kiwi, and contribute critical traditional Mātauranga (knowledge). Northland brown kiwi populations are declining and there are concerns that these populations are inbred. Inbreeding in populations as small as these can be catastrophic due to the loss of genetic diversity. Using a genomic approach, this research aims to generate a greatly enhanced understanding of the population genetic structure (whakapapa) on the landscape of Northland. Genetic analysis and mathematical modelling will be used to develop a new management strategy, enabling local Māori to exercise kaitaikitanga (guardianship) over this taonga species. Genetics is Angelia’s  passion due to the intricacies and complexity of such a robust yet fragile biological process. In the future she hopes to work across a wide range of fields with genetics at the core. She believes working with indigenous communities on genetic research would be amazing and would allow her to give back and share her knowledge.