Aroha Te Pareake Mead is from the Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou tribes (Māori) of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Aroha is the global Chair of the IUCN Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy and a Senior Lecturer in Māori Business, Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington. She has been involved in indigenous cultural and intellectual property and environmental issues for over 30 years at tribal, national, Pacific regional and international levels.
Aroha previously worked as the National Policy Director for Te Tau Ihu o Ngā Wānanga – the National Secretariat for the three Māori/tribal universities: Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Te Wānanga o Raukawa, and before that she held managerial positions in Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Māori Development. She led the organisation of the conference that developed the 1993 Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the 1994 Roundtable of Indigenous Peoples and Self-Determination; and the 6th International Conference of Ethnobiologists as well as numerous, national, regional and international conferences on traditional knowledge, cultural and intellectual property rights, biodiversity and genetic resources. The most recent conference she led was Sharing Power: A New Vision for Development held in Whakatane, New Zealand, January 2011. A multi-disciplinary conference that explored de-centralisation in the governance and management of bio-cultural resources; enabling indigenous peoples and local communities to have greater rights and responsibilities in governance and management of the landscapes and ecosystems they live in and near; and looked at alternatives to the current capital based economic model that has created social and economic inequities and large scale environmental damage.
Her current interests are in providing insights into new models of conservation and development.