He taonga tuku iho te whakarite kaupapa mō ngā māra kai tuturu = Living indigenous heritage : planning for Māori gardens : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This study was guided by kaupapa Māori principles and was therefore grounded in a tangata whenua research framework ‘This means it must stem from a Māori worldview, be based in Māori epistemology and incorporate Māori concepts, knowledge, skill, experiences, attitudes, processes, practices, customs, reo, values and beliefs’ (Bevan-Brown, 1998, p. 231). Kaupapa Māori research must also aim to contribute to positive outcomes for Māori. Therefore this research sought to examine how planning can contribute to the revival of Māori food gardens as part of New Zealand’s indigenous living heritage.
The research method included interviews with participants from Te Tai Tokerau, Tāmaki Makaurau, Kirikiriroa, Whakatāne, Kawerau, Te Teko, Matata, Rotorua, Te Matau-a-Māui, Papaioea, Whanganui and Te Upoko-o-te-ika-a-Māui. Analysis of planning documents, heritage reports and academic literature also took place to gather data.
The findings revealed that within heritage management and planning there continues to be a fixation on buildings and physical heritage. As a result, tangible heritage is at the forefront of planning decisions while intangible heritage, living heritage and Māori heritage values are often overlooked. Māori garden heritage can therefore be relegated to unseen archaeological sites or viewed as static physical representations of the past. These issues hinder the re-establishment of Māori heritage gardens and their long term viability.
This thesis contributes to the body of knowledge around Māori heritage, planning and Māori food gardens in the contemporary era. It does so by examining the historical antecedents and key issues relevant to planning for Māori heritage gardens. It then reveals how local authorities and planners can assist those whānau and hapū who are seeking to retrace their ancient connections with their food cultivation heritage and thereby contribute to the restoration of Māori heritage and wellbeing.