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The voice(s) of Māori in integrated freshwater management : a case study in the Manawatū River catchment in New Zealand : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ecological Economics at Massey University, Palmerston North, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Freshwater of good quality and quantity is fundamental to life. The challenge of our times is to manage freshwater and to find innovative ways to integrate ecological, economic, social and cultural interests in its use so that future generations will continue to have access to its life-supporting capacity. This research focuses on cultural understanding of water and how it influences water management. The study explores how the voice of Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) is heard in collaborative multi-stakeholder approaches to freshwater management. The voice of Maori in the context of this study is defined as the contributions made by Maori while exercising rights granted under the Treaty of Waitangi signed in1840, to participate in the management of their taonga (treasures including natural resources).
The trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural research uses ‘verstehen’ (creating meaning) as the epistemology and method to explore four questions: 1) How are cultural values reflected in the process of action planning, funding and implementation?; 2) What gives voice in the process?; 3) Voice in short-term collaborations - how do Mediated Modelling and other tools support the voice of Maori?; and 4) Voice and iwi/hapu river management planning - how could intergenerational plans relate to the voice of Maori? The case study for the research was based in the Manawatu River catchment in the lower North Island of New Zealand. It took place between October 2010 and November 2013. Four iwi/hapu (tribes/sub-tribes) from the catchment, namely Te Kauru Eastern Manawatu River Hapu Collective, Rangitaane O Manawatu, Ngati Kauwhata (supported by Taiao Raukawa) and Muaupoko Tribal Authority participated in a collaborative process involving multiple stakeholders tasked with finding solutions to water quality and quantity issues impacting the catchment.
The case study culminated in a ‘framework for voice’ as a tool to facilitate a deeper level of understanding of cultural values and thereby improve dialogue in future collaborations in integrated freshwater management involving Maori and non-Maori. The study concludes that innovative changes to integrated freshwater management can evolve over time as new thinking emerges at the interface between cultures, their worldviews and values.
Key words: integrated freshwater management, voice of Maori, worldviews, values, multi-stakeholder collaborations, intergenerational planning and vision