Tikanga Māori food verification system extends to other cultures

By Talisa Kupenga

Hua Parakore is the world's first indigenous food verification system based on tikanga Māori and is expanding to other cultures. The system was showcased at the Mātauranga Māori symposium, a gathering of Aotearoa's most unique, innovative and creative minds to share new developments in indigenous education.

Māori educators unite to share new insight and knowledge, including the Hua Parakore initiative created by the late Percy Tipene.

Para Kore spokesperson Moko Morris says "It's a tikanga based verification system that verifies food and products from a kaupapa Māori perspective and it basically  verifies your food to say that you've grown [food] that enhances Papatuanuku (mother earth) and doesn't deplete her."

Other indigenous cultures have shown an interest including Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands, with a goal to build future native trade relationships. Hua Parakore was also asked to adapt the framework for Hawai'i.

"A team went over to Hawai'i a few years ago and they verified their kai at their farms but what they had to do is translate it into their language and their values. The Hua Parakore system wasn't designed to be transferable but now we know that it is."

Verification takes three years and is awarded to anyone who can assure product purity and integrity at all times, as well as having production and cultural practise that is GM, nano and chemical free.

"It's a three-year process but during that time we support you on your journey and I guess it is the ultimate form of rangatiratanga over your food."

Tomorrow is the final day of the symposium.