A culturally-focused life cycle sustainability assessment: Analysis of forestry value chain options with Māori land owners : A thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Doctor of Philosophy in Life Cycle Management At Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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The purpose of this research was to 1) explore the potential for the more distinctive representation of Māori culture in Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA), and 2) understand the relationship between culturally-focused LCSA and the Māori decisionmaking process. These two interrelated aspects were investigated through participatory engagement with three members of the Ngāti Porou iwi (tribe), and through collaborative development of three forestry LCSA scenarios (radiata pine, rimu, and mānuka). Aligning with principles of kaupapa Māori research, a participatory LCSA methodology approach was created which encapsulated five phases: 1) understand Ngāti Porou aspirations and concerns, 2) co-develop options for forestry scenarios, 3) co-develop and select LCSA indicators (including a cultural indicator), 4) LCSA indicator data collection and modelling, and 5) communication of results. The methodology utilised a mixed methods approach as Stage 1, 2, 3, and 5 are predominantly qualitative while Stage 4 is predominantly quantitative. Culture was represented in the participatory LCSA in two ways. Firstly, a bespoke cultural indicator (Cultural Indicator Matrix) was co-developed to distinctly include culture within LCSA. The Cultural Indicator Matrix was based on and adapted an existing cultural decision-making framework (i.e. the Mauri Model) in order to ensure its capability to represent both Ngāti Porou aspirations and the forestry value chains explored in this research. The Cultural Indicator Matrix was completed by each participant and subjectively measured the impact they perceived each forestry process or product had upon a range of Ngāti Porou aspirations. Secondly, a participatory research approach was utilised that itself made the LCSA process more culturally-focused. The participatory approach relied on active engagement with the research participants throughout the LCSA study, primarily with the utilisation of semi-structured interviews. Such collaborative participatory engagement with the research participants allowed for their cultural input, preferences, and knowledge at each stage of the LCSA process. This research has yielded several original and meaningful results: 1. The Cultural Indicator Matrix is a new culturally-focused mechanism which can be used to support the Māori decision-making process. The participants viewed the Cultural Indicator Matrix as an effective method for gathering community impressions of how potential forestry life cycle processes could impact upon their cultural aspirations. 2. The participants felt the participatory LCSA aspect was crucially important; the open and consistent communication between themselves and the LCSA practitioner provided them with more control, access to information, understanding of the LCSA process, and enhanced their acceptance of the final results. They considered that the results of the culturally-focused LCSA gave them “validation” and “direction”, and justified their interests in pursuing forestry options for their land. 3. The participatory LCSA process led to the identification of a need to formally include a Cultural Compliance process with the LCSA. The Cultural Compliance process is comprised of six cultural components occurring throughout the forestry life cycle. Recognition of these components helps to ensure that appropriate and necessary cultural considerations are taken into account during relevant forestry life cycle processes. It is unlikely that this insight would have been reached if not for the participatory engagement focus of this LCSA research. 4. The development and analysis of three forestry scenarios using a range of sustainability indicators generated distinctive datasets on the life cycles of radiata pine, rimu, and mānuka. As the rimu and mānuka scenarios are particularly underrepresented in forestry-life cycle literature, this research has provided a contribution to knowledge regarding these two forestry options. For the first time, indigenous culture has been represented alongside economic, social, and environmental impacts in LCSA. This comprehensive presentation of results facilitates the decision-making process by providing the decision maker(s) with information about the “big picture”, thus supporting educated and informed decisions. Furthermore, a culturally-focused LCSA approach helps to ensure that culture is not lost during the decision-making process, but rather is an active component. Finally, of critical importance, both the culturally-focused LCSA process and associated results will further enable the recognition cultural groups, including their values and aspirations. The explicit acknowledgement of culture in LCSA will engender more awareness and protection for culture, lessen the isolation and marginalisation of culture, and empower cultural groups to develop and pursue brave choices.