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Meet the team

Aotearoa New Zealand is bi-cultural. Contributors to this course are Indigenous (Māori) and non-Indigenous (Pākehā).

Professor Lynda Johnston – Lead educator

Professor Lynda Johnson is the Assistant Vice Chancellor Sustainability at the University of Waikato and has been a lecturer in human geography for over 20 years. Lynda’s current teaching focuses on the many ways in which people, families, communities, and institutions can be sustainable using the UN framework of SDGs. As a Professor of Geography, Lynda is also the Aotearoa New Zealand delegate to the International Geographical Union (IGU) and has previously chaired the Gender and Geography Commission of the IGU, as well as being President of the New Zealand Geographical Society.

Dr Gail Adams-Hutcheson – course author and educator

Dr Gail Adams-Hutcheson is a Research Associate at the University of Waikato. Her area of expertise covers the human dimensions of disasters and climate change, specialising in relocation politics. Gail has been at the University for close to 20 years, completing her PhD and following with five years lecturing in social and cultural geography. Her current research projects include post-disaster story collation, agriculture (farming) climate and weather, and the intersection of food waste and climate action. Gail has been an executive member of the New Zealand Geographical Society for over 10 years and has worked as part of a team on the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges project, focusing on critical governance and climate change as part of the government funded National Science Challenge.

Acknowledging Tainui and the lands the University sits upon

The primary distinctive feature of Aotearoa New Zealand is the importance of Indigenous people – Māori. The University of Waikato’s motto is ‘Ko te tangata’ which translates to ‘for the people’. The University of Waikato has a longstanding relationship with the Kīngitanga and Waikato-Tainui, who are the traditional owners and custodians in the Waikato region. The University’s Hamilton campus is based on land originally inhabited by Ngāti Wairere and Ngāti Hauā of Tainui. Much of this land was confiscated in 1864 by the colonial government following the Waikato Land Wars, an act later found to be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. More about the treaty to follow! To redress this, the Crown signed a settlement with Waikato-Tainui in 1995, part of which vested the land on which the Hamilton campus stands in the title of the first Māori King, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, to ensure it could not be alienated. It is now leased to the University by Waikato-Tainui.

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Sustainable Development Goals: People, Place, and Environment

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