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Crop & Food Research Maori Scholarship Awarded

Crop & Food Research Maori Scholarship
Awarded to Neola Whalley

Neola Whalley (pronounced Wally) has been awarded a Crop & Food Research Maori Scholarship to assist with the development and implementation of best organic vegetable farming practices on the East Coast.

She is:
 Ngati Porou
 Spent periods of her life in the East Coast, mostly in Ruatoria where most of her relatives live
 A Bachelor of Science student majoring in Agricultural Science at Massey University. (She has finished her first year)
 Works with Crop & Food Research agronomist, Dr Huub Kerckhoffs and his team (based in Hawke’s Bay)

Neola is working on a ‘Science for Community Change’ project that aims to identify how Maori communities can make the transition from extensive agriculture to intensive organic horticulture. It is:
 About East Coast Maori working closely with scientists to help improve land-use, environment sustainability and profits
 Funded by the Government’s Foundation for Science Research & Technology
 In its fourth year of five years
 Main aspects of the project are:
o A survey of current land-use
o Workshops and field days
o A network of weather stations
o Researching representative properties on aspects of:
 Crop rotation
 Yields
 Weeds

Neola will:
 survey current practices of curing and storing kumara
o talk with kumara growers about their experiences
 identify best ways to cure and store kumara
 develop an integrated organic system of curing and storing kumara with reduced post-harvest losses with increased storage life and increased revenue/profit for the growers
 monitor crops and be involved in on-going field trials
 also assist with organising local workshops on:
o weed control
o post-harvest quality of crops

Neola is eager to talk to current and past kumara growers from the Tairawhiti district, and beyond, about their experiences curing and storing kumara.
Neola’s work is in response to some kumara crops suffering from post harvest spoilage.

ENDS

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