More than meets the eye: Alyssce Te Huna

Department of Conservation —  15/07/2021

We recently launched a new series on the Conservation blog – More than meets the eye, where we share the untold stories of our staff, their mahi and their experiences at the Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai.

Today we’re talking to Alyssce Te Huna, Technical Advisor – Ecology based in Rotorua…

Alyssce Te Huna

What is your story?

I te taha o toku koroua,
Ko Piriru Bill Edwards tōku koro 
Ko Whangatautia te maunga
Ko Wairoa te moana
Ko Ngatokimatawharua te waka
Ko Te Rarawa te iwi
Ko Ngati Moroki te hapū
Ko Korou Kore te marae

I te taha o toku kuia,
Ko Ngaroma Ngatai Edwards nee Kena tōku kuia
Ko Muarangi te maunga
Ko Kaipara te moana
Ko Mahuhu ki te rangi te waka
Ko Ngati Whatua te iwi
Ko Te Uri o Hau te hapū
Ko Waikaretu te marae
Ko Alyssce Te Huna ahau
Ko Kaimatanga Matai Taiao mo Te Papa Atawhai ki Rotorua

I was raised in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland). I was brought up around Te Ao Māori – the marae and my whānau were my life. Although I was brought up in this world I didn’t really come to embrace my culture and being Māori until I attended university and started working out in the real world. It has been an experience and I have learnt a lot and grown along the way. I have worked as an environmental officer for my hapū Te Uri o Hau, which has come with a lot of experiences which I bring to my work now with Te Papa Atawhai. I believe in not judging people by what they look like or what they do, but as my Nan taught me, by their wairua (spirit/soul) and their manawa (heart).

Waikaretu marae, Pouto, Kaipara Harbour

What does your average day in the office look like?

I work flexible hours, so that usually starts off with taking my kōtiro/girl to kura/school and then either working in the office or from home – mostly on the Threatened Species Recovery Groups Framework, which currently has 19 species recovery programmes. I am also doing some development in the Pāteke Recovery Group Leader role and I travel to Wellington often to meet with my team (based from Hamilton to Christchurch). I also contribute to local activities at the Rotorua site such as health, safety and wellbeing. I have been seconded to work in the Māori rights and interests workstream on the implementation of Te Mana o Te Taiao/Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, my main role includes a Te Ao Māori perspective and my experience working in Te Papa Atawhai.

I had an amazing time supporting other Technical Advisors and Operations Rangers, undertaking pekapeka/short-tailed bat PIT tagging in the Pureora Forest Park at the end of January. Amazing work and people that I will be regularly involved with from now on! I love taking my whānau on DOC walks in the weekend – those are an adventure in itself!

What is an exciting project (past, present, or future) that is unique to the work that you do?

One piece of work I am proud of since starting at Te Papa Atawhai is supporting whānau, hapū and iwi to manage Te Ao Tupare (A-frame hut) in the Ruahine Ranges – the first hut to be managed by whānau, hapū and iwi. Working in this role enabled me to build on the whanaungatanga, the relationships with whānau, hapū and iwi within this project.

As a Māori, Whanaungatanga is fundamental to our worldview: relationships are fundamental in all  aspects of life, whether it is our relationships with each other, nature, or spirit. This project created memorable relationships, which in turn provided a successful outcome for whānau, hapū and iwi. 

Lower North Island Treaty Rangers doing a hikoi along the Manawatū Estuary

What is your purpose while working at Te Papa Atawhai?

It took me a long time to think about my purpose while working at Te Papa Atawhai. I think my purpose as Te Papa Atawhai kaimahi is to establish relationships (whanaungatanga) and work with people (ngā tangata); without this the work cannot be done.

I will leave you all with this whakatauki: 

“Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi: with red and black the work will be complete.”

6 responses to More than meets the eye: Alyssce Te Huna


    Great to read about your amazing mahi Alyssce.


    Love this Alyssce! It totally resonates with me to connect with people by understanding their values, heart and spirit. That’s you e hoa 🙂

    Jessica Hutchings 20/07/2021 at 2:09 pm

    Ngā mihi Alyssce, ka mau te wehi


    Thanks for sharing Alyssce. You have great insights and so many strings to your bow 🙂


    Great article and good to learn about your mahi and you Alyssce, well done!


    Awesome Alyssce