Dr Gail Tipa has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and environmental management.
She has worked in the environmental sector for nearly 30 years, focused on delivering ecocultural outcomes, advocating for Māori, the environment and the intrinsic connection between the two.
Dr Tipa started her career with the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand and since then has contributed to retaining the character and biodiversity in the Waitaki and other catchments.
She has been part of working groups to develop and implement customary fisheries mechanisms, to develop restoration projects and works with a variety of resource users. She has managed her own consultancy for 25 years, focusing specifically on environmental research and management.
Dr Tipa is recognised internationally as a leading expert on improving the interface between indigenous cultures and environmental decision-making. She has published widely in this field and has worked on developing new methodologies and tools, such as the Cultural Health Index and the Cultural Flow Assessment method, to enhance indigenous participation in freshwater management.
She was a whānau member who worked on the Ngāi Tahu claim and settlement in the 1990s and has held several governance roles within Ngāi Tahu organisations. Dr Tipa was a member of the inaugural Bioheritage National Science Challenge Governance Group.