Selai Letica

Selai Letica

I am of Maori descent and raised in Te Taitokerau, Northland in a small rural village in the Hokianga. As a Maori ‘soil health’ was a core value instilled in me from a very young age. My undergraduate degree however was a Bsc in Botany. I quickly moved to the discipline of Ecology and then Environmental Science. After spending sometime as a field scientist for a small fertiliser company and a field technician for a Resource Management Firm, I quickly rekindled my interest in soil, this time taking a more technical perspective, and it’s role to perform and underpin both ecological and economic services. Activities that impact on the sustainability of those core functions became a topic of fascination for me. To that end, I came to the study of soil science relatively late in my study years when I was appointed a PhD Candidacy through a partnership between the Fertiliser and Lime Research Ltd and AgResearch. After completing a PhD investigating the spatial distribution of nitrous oxide emissions from sheep-grazed hill country I went on to be appointed a Post-doctoral position where I investigated the efficacy of a nitrogen mitigation tool in Southern NZ dairy systems. That was a few years ago now, since then I have grown a whanau of 4 (5 if you count our fur-child!), undertaken maori social research and most recently a Relationship Management Role for Maori Agribusiness at AgResearch. My current research interests are focused on agricultural value chains, however my appreciation and enthusiasm for soil research still pervades my thoughts and ambitions!