Guest Speakers at Necessary Traditions




We are so fortunate to have these tohunga share their particular perspective of necessary traditions: Louise Ayling – Bespoke Shoemaker, Giulio Sturla – Chef & Founder of Roots Restaurant, Maia Mistral – Botanist, Colin Meurk – Ecologist, Philip Simpson – Botanist & Author, Kyle Davis (Ngāi Tahu, nō Wairewa me Ōraka-Aparima) – Archaeologist.

This speakers series runs on Monday 12th, Tuesday 13th, Wednesday 14th November 2018 at 6.30pm.  Tickets are $8, or $5 if you have a ticket to the main Necessary Traditions event, to book please click here.

Our guest speakers on Monday 12th November 2018 are:

Louise Ayling – Bespoke Shoemaker

Bespoke shoe making is the celebration of making a pair of shoes, one pair at a time, by hand. Traditional skills used in the handmade shoe making trade contrast to the modern world where volume is valued over craftsmanship and creative integrity. The skills Louise holds have taken years to acquire, and are rare to find in Aotearoa New Zealand. Finding a way to uphold these skills in her practice as LA Shoemaker, at this place & time, is not without a unique set of challenges. Louise will reflect on what’s behind her drive to practice her shoe making skills & why she believes these skills are a necessary tradition.

Louise trained and worked as a bespoke shoemaker for ten years at James Taylor and Son, Marylebone, London. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2009, Louise has continued to make bespoke footwear under the name LA Shoemaker while working in the footwear trade in Christchurch.

Giulio Sturla – Chef & Founder of Roots Restaurant

When Giulio describes the evolution of his award-winning restaurant Roots, he talks about a series of relationships and connections that formed as he followed his vision towards what became. He describes the necessity of cooking and it’s role as a resourceful means of connecting to place and to others in this place. 

Giulio Sturla, the chef-owner of Roots Restaurant, was born in Chile and raised in Ecuador. His passion has been cooking and eating good food since he was a young boy; he has travelled extensively and worked in many different countries such as the world-renowned restaurant Mugaritz in Spain before coming to New Zealand.

Giulio and his wife Christy opened Roots Restaurant in Lyttelton after the earthquakes in 2011. Roots was created with a belief that a restaurant can start up from passion, commitment and determination. The main emphasis is the quality of ingredients, the stories behind the food and presenting the true flavours. Roots Restaurant has received numerous accolades and awards and has sustained a three-hat status. In October 2018 Giulio won the New Zealand’s Chef of the Year award.

Our guest speakers on Tuesday 13th November 2018 are:

Maia Mistral – Botanist

Maia will speak about willows for baskets. These days willows introduced to New Zealand are subject to bad press. Often neglected in the debate are willow species that humans have depended upon for centuries for their high utility values. One such group of willows selected over time specifically for their flexibility and amenability to cultivation are referred to collectively as basket willows. For those interested in learning willow basket making and beginners wishing to hone their skills a lack of access to suitable willow can be a major barrier to progress. In fact securing a reliable supply of raw material has been an ongoing concern even amongst professional willow basket makers who first began to work in New Zealand from the mid-19th century. This talk will use insights from the past to discuss the relative value of wild harvesting and traditional coppice management of selected basket willow varieties as pathways for securing material supplies in the future.

Dr Maia Mistral has a background in Fine Arts and Botany. In 2016 she completed a PhD which examined some of the physical, mechanical and historical factors that contribute to the notion of a ‘good’ basket willow within a New Zealand context. She manages a small collection of wild genotypes and named cultivars of shrub and basket willow species with the help of a group of enthusiastic volunteers. The annual harvest is used to support basket making workshops.

Colin Meurk – Ecologist

Colin will speak on the importance of choosing the right plants for the place – to maximise ecosystem services (production, function, connectivity and food for wildlife) but also to feed our identity. Key concepts are ecological integrity, eco-sourcing, visibility, natural character, legibility, history and place-making. Together they build ecological literacy in the community, and connect us to our locally unique natural and cultural heritage. This contributes to productivity of foods and fibre, stories in the land for ourselves and visitors (spilling into local economy), and to general well-being.

Dr Meurk is a research associate at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a New Zealand government science institute focused on understanding, protecting and sustainable use of land resources. His interests include biogeography, ecological restoration and design, landscape dynamics, urban ecology, subantarctic islands, conservation biology and citizen science. He promotes and designs biodiversity integration within production landscapes – Greening Waipara, Te Ara Kakariki (green pathways across the Canterbury Plains) and Riverlands Industrial Estate. He has received a Christchurch Civic Award, Loder Cup, Old Blue Award (Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society), Ecology-in-Action Award (NZ Ecological Society), and was associated with A Green Ribbon Award for Travis Wetland and Golden Foot Award for the Christchurch 360 Trail – projects for which Colin was instrumental in getting off the ground.

Our guest speakers on Wednesday 14th November 2018 are:

Philip Simpson – Botanist & Author

This presentation The Waitaha/Canterbury heritage of Tī kōuka and Tōtara outlines the natural occurrence of cabbage trees and totara in the Canterbury region. It examines how the sequence of iwi have utilized both resources, and how Pakeha who followed did likewise. Finally it looks at the present day situation, how nature is responding and how people are managing the resource that remains.

 Philip Simpson is a botanist and author of much loved Dancing Leaves: The Story of New Zealand’s Cabbage Tree, Tī Kōuka (Canterbury University Press, 2000), and Pōhutukawa and Rātā: New Zealand’s Iron-hearted Trees (Te Papa Press, 2005). Both books won Montana Book Awards in the Environment category and Pōhutukawa and Rātā also won the Montana Medal for best non-fiction book. More recently, Philip wrote Tōtara: A Natural and Cultural History (Auckland University Press, 2017), and on November 19th 2018 his new work, Down the Bay (Potton & Burton, 2018) on the Abel Tasman National Park is being published. 

We are so grateful Philip is coming to join Necessary Traditions from his home in Mohua Golden Bay to share his knowledge of tōtara & tī kōuka in Waitaha Canterbury.

As part of Necessary Traditions, Philip is offering a field trip at Pūtaringamotu Riccarton Bush on Wednesday 14th November 2018 from 1pm to 3pm.

Kyle Davis (Ngāi Tahu, nō Wairewa me Ōraka-Aparima) – Archaeologist

An archaeological perspective & a Ngāi Tahu perspective of local necessary traditions/mahi tuturū.

Kyle Davis  is currently an Environmental consultant and Ngāi Tahu Rock Art Fieldworker with a background in archaeological field research, cultural mapping and material culture experimental analysis and he will share an archaeological perspective on Māori traditional practices such as fire-making, pigment preparation, (including Rock Art), Argillite and Silcrete stone-flaking.