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An example of change in the local dairy context

Read Gail Adams-Hutcheson's thoughts on the dairy industry in Aotearoa New Zealand and what models are there that mitigate environmental impacts.
Aotearoa, New Zealand Friesian dairy cows in a circular holding yard before milking.
© Gail Adams-Hutcheson
In the previous step 4.7 we considered the problems with increased intensity of the dairy industry on Aotearoa New Zealand’s waterways. Let’s have a look at what is being done to mitigate harm and provide an alternative model to global giant Fonterra.

Miraka – Māori for Milk
The Miraka brand is represented by the face of a kaitiaki (guardian), body of Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) and Ranginui (Sky Father), which highlight our connected relationship with one another and our natural world. This symbolises the strong emphasis Miraka places on its responsibility as a guardian of resources. The Tauihu (prow) of the waka, is symbolic of our seafaring ancestors who set out into unchartered waters through the Pacific and onto Aotearoa/New Zealand, leads the way to new business opportunities and networks around the world.

Māori-owned Miraka is well established in the New Zealand dairy-processing industry with strong values founded on the cultural beliefs of indigenous-based owners. The values above guide business decisions and underpin the interconnected relationships we have with each other and with the natural world that sustains and nourishes our well-being. These concepts are core to Māori interactions with the environment discussed in step 4.5.

With less of a carbon footprint achieved by sourcing milk from close farms only, Miraka is leading the way in sustainability and quality. They are also showing that indigenous peoples are savvy business owner/operators and have won multiple awards. On the farm, animal welfare is paramount, with a view to sustain the land into the future, not deplete it today. Planting of waterways also helps to reduce nitrogen leeching and pollution. The signs are good but there is a long way to go.

© The University of Waikato and Miraka
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