Dr Benita Wakefield
Kaupapa Maori researcher, Lincoln University
Benita has worked in whanau, marae, hapu and iwi post Treaty development for many years within Ngai Tahu takiwa. In the last five years she returned home to Ngati Kahungunu Iwi to undertake a post doctorate study to improve the mauri of our fresh waterways within Tamatea, central Hawkes Bay. The focus was also to support marae and hapu development, building capacity and capability within environmental management (ie, matauranga Maori and freshwater) in preparation of Treaty settlement. Her specialist research areas of interest are environmental health, post Treaty development, restoration and healing models that strengthen kaitiakitanga, whanaungatanga, tino-rangatiratanga and manamotuhake.
Jessica Kereama, Indigenous Planning Practitioner, Taiao Raukawa Trust- River Values Project Co-ordinator
Indigenous Planning Practitioner, Taiao Raukawa Trust- River Values Project Co-ordinator
Jessica Kereama is from Ngati Manomano, a hapū which are part of the confederation of Ngāti Raukawa. She also links to Rangitane ki Wairau through her Ngati Kuia side and Maniapoto and Ngati Toa. Through her mother she is half Malaysian Chinese. She identifies herself as an indigenous practitioner with experience in many fields including MSD audit and investigations, policy development, education, research, and environmental work through the Department of Conservation and the Taia o Raukawa.
Through a Te Pumanawa Hauora (Massey University) and Purehuroa Scholarship (Otago University) she completed a Masters in Regional Planning and Resource Management from Massey University in 2012. She also has completed a Bachelor of Social Work from Massey University (2000) and quality assurance auditing and ISO 9001/2 qualifications.
She has extensive experience working within Central Government teams or in jobs dedicated to increasing engagement with iwi māori. This portfolio has afforded Jessica an in-depth insight and experience into the complexities of Treaty partner engagement as a māori agent of the Crown. In contrast Jessica has also worked in a voluntary capacity for her marae, hapū, and iwi many years across a broad range of issues including environmental, local government and educational issues.
Her loves of her life are her family. She loves singing, dancing, and her children think she should be on Master Chef for cooking. Other loves include an absolute love for her people, the sustainability and protection of the environment for all.