Researchers are investigating how the application of kaitiakitanga (Māori guardianship) approaches contribute to reversing the decline of New Zealand’s biodiversity, and support the relationship of Māori communities with their environments.
The project is led jointly by Dr Phil Lyver of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Nigel Scott of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and directed by the Ngāi Tahu Advisory Committee chaired by David Higgins. The multi-disciplinary research team is providing evidence to support reforms in conservation laws that currently obstruct tangata tiaki (local guardian) roles and aspirations.
It responds to a 2011 report by the Waitangi Tribunal, Ko Aotearoa Tēnei – Report into Claims Concerning New Zealand Law and Policy Affecting Māori Culture and Identity. The report found the current regulatory environment excludes Māori from participating in decisions around issues of vital importance to their culture, such as flora, fauna and the wider environment.
Researchers are aiming to develop a framework that provides the basis for informed and inclusive decision-making about environmental conservation.
Members of the team are also working with kaumātua (elders) and tangata tiaki from the tribal groups of Tuhoe Tuawhenua Trust (Te Urewera) and Ngāti Hauā (Waikato) to understand values and constructs for biocultural restoration of forests and wetlands.
The contributions of Indigenous peoples to conservation and environmental management are important globally because they offer alternate perspectives centered on the quality of the relationship between humans and the environment.
They also bring unique approaches to the sustainable use of natural resources.
Indigenous peoples’ cultures are commonly embedded within complex social-ecological systems, with the functions of these intricately woven together.
However, the following things interfere with indigenous peoples’ connections and relationships with nature:
In addition, Indigenous people, including tangata whenua, confront ongoing challenges applying their worldviews within biocentric-based conservation management.
The team is providing evidence to support increased local decision-making by tangata tiaki in conservation through four key themes:
BioHeritage’s role is to break down barriers between organisations and individual scientists by coordinating and focusing the research of top scientists from our 18 Challenge Parties.
This project is led jointly by Challenge Party Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Key research institutes and organisations include University of Canterbury, University of Otago, University of Waikato and Kitson Consulting.
The team consists of 13 scientists and community researchers, two PhD and two MSc students. Eleven of these members are Māori. The research is directed by the Ngāi Tahu Advisory Committee, consisting of David Higgins (Chair), Don Brown, Iaean Cranwell, Cyril Gilroy, John Henry, Jane Kitson, Te Marino Lenihan, Craig Pauling, Makarini Rupene, Khyla Russell, Joe Taurima and Paul Wilson.
If you’re looking for any outputs (papers, data etc) from this project that you don’t see on this page please visit our data repository.