About Founder


Kia ora! 

This is Te Tui Shortland, and I’m the founder of Awatea Organics.

I’m a firm believer that if we reclaim our rights to our lands and agency in the food system, not only do we eat better food but we also create a better world. 

Ancestral nutrition teaches us that we thrive from a diet plenty of fruits, seeds, and vegetables grown organically from rich soil. Yet, unsustainable farming practices have weakened that connection to the natural. 

Today, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized and fight for our collective rights to our lands.

My hope is through my work and the work of Awatea Organics, we bring a connecting solution. 

We help you lead healthier lifestyles that are deeply connected to nature and at the same time empowers and improves the lives of our indigenous people. 

Where I am Coming From

I belong to the indigenous community of New Zealand (the Māori).

I was actually named “Tui” because when I was born, the Tui, a bird that plants the small seeds in the forest, was going extinct. 

This, I believe, was not only a cultural indicator of my environment, but it also set me on the path to promoting living that’s in harmony with our Mother Earth. 

Starting from home, I tend to our family farm that I’ve inherited from my father, who inherited the land from his father, who inherited the land from his mother. I am the first to return to the land after 50 years of alienation.

Here, I apply organic farming practices and the years of collective wisdom passed from our ancestors. 

Outside, I take part in opportunities that contribute to sustainable resource management, environment policy, and the upholding of Indigenous rights, knowledge, and innovations.

Today, I’m a consultant at the Ministry of Primary Industries in Northland, New Zealand, which is a Curator of the Cultural Indicators for Healthy Kauri Forests, and currently project managing three indigenous pilots of the indicator framework.

I also serve as the director at Te Kopu Pacific Indigenous & Local Knowledge Centre of Distinction in Whangarei, which contributes to the uptake of indigenous knowledge into global decisions, capacity building amongst communities, and regional workshops. 

Other experiences:

Whangarei Maori Organic Growers Collective 

International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity
8 years

Working Party on Indicators, Pacific 
Interim Regional Representative

Conference of Parties 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity

Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust 

Nga Tirairaka o Ngati Hine

Repo Consultancy Ltd.
Managing Director

Ngati Hine Forestry Trust 

Whangarei District Council
Project Manager Sites & Areas of Significance to Maori 

Tai Tokerau Freshwater Aquaculture Working Party

Historical Research and Mapping at Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Northland

Iwi Technicians Forum

Ngatiwai Trust Board
Resource Management Unit Coordinator