James Doherty's biggest driver in life has always been to make the world a better place for his children and grandchildren.
It's a noble kaupapa to take on and one he has dedicated his entire retirement to achieving.
It is because of his unwavering efforts to reaching this goal that Doherty has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and conservation in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.
After years of working as a public servant, Doherty retired in his early 50s and that, he says, "marked the beginning of it all".
"When I got to that age, something inside of me said this was the time to go home and help our people.
"Having worked as a public servant, I was able to take home my Western knowledge and my understanding of government ins and outs to help process our treaty claims. That was really the turning point and when I became heavily involved in the environment stuff."
By "environment stuff" Doherty is referring to the plethora of roles he has taken on to help preserve and restore the lands of the Tuawhenua.
Doherty was a lead contributor to developing the mātauranga o te ngahere o Tuawhenua/Ruatahuna (forest lore/knowledge), an assembly through interview and wananga of the traditional knowledge of the species of the lands and forests of the Tuawhenua.
He has been at the forefront of the national advancement of mātauranga Māori as a knowledge system, chaired the Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust since 1987, was a member of the Ngā Matapopore Māori Research Advisory Group for 10 years, the Te Herenga Regional Network for three years, and the Claims Committee of Te Runanganui o Te Ikawhenua for 10 years.
Doherty has been a delegate for the Tūhoe Manawaru Tribunal since 2004 and was chairman of the Kaingaroa Village Council for six years.
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He represented New Zealand at the inaugural Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Dialogue Workshop in Panama City in 2014 and has co-authored a number of scientific peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and co-presented at international and national conferences with Manaaki Whenua researchers.
"My wife and I have raised two of our grandchildren and our great-grandson and they used to skite at school, 'my koro is a doctor and he didn't even go to university'," Doherty laughed.
He said there was no way his younger self could have imagined doing what he has.
"When I was a boy, still at school, my great-grandfather encouraged me to go out and get that Pākehā knowledge so I could bring it home and help our people.
"I did that, and in some ways I do regret it because by trying to fulfil his dreams and aspirations, I learnt a huge amount of Western science but I neglected my own people.
"After that, I had nobody left who had the knowledge to answer my questions about matauranga Māori."
However, Doherty has since spent three decades bridging that gap.
"In my time doing this, I have had a lot of fun testing and challenging Western science and my matauranga.
"It's not about competing or trying to prove one is right over the other. I would often say that the biggest hurdle is that your science is only five minutes old. My science is over 1000 years old.
"There are things Western science has taught us but there are also areas it has failed in - look at climate change for example.
"Isn't time we used the two knowledges together for the betterment of the next generation? That's what is important."