Motivators, barriers and enablers of biodiversity protection in Mōtū, New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Management at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Despite one-third of New Zealand's land being protected under public conservation estate, the country is facing significant biodiversity loss. Much of the remaining flora and fauna in New Zealand exists within the public conservation estate. However, remaining indigenous vegetation on private land can be representative of land environments that have been heavily deforested, providing an opportunity to protect biodiversity that is underrepresented within the public conservation estate. A critical step towards protecting biodiversity on private land is to understand the current level of protection, and associated conservation behaviours. Understanding landowners’ and managers' perceived motivators, barriers, and enablers of biodiversity protection is a key step towards ensuring positive behavioural change. A case study using the Mōtū catchment, located in the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand was used for this research. Surveys and interviews underpinned by the Theory of Planned Behaviour were used to collect data on the motivators, barriers, and enablers of biodiversity protection along with information on the current level of engagement in biodiversity protection in the catchment. The research found that respondents were motivated less by financial, economic and social factors and more by conservation and lifestyle motivations, emphasising the strong environmental stewardship ethic of respondents. Lack of resourcing and labour were found to act as strong conservation barriers along with financial impediments. Critical enabling factors were personal motivation and financial and economic incentives while government environmental regulation and environmental management plans were found to be the least important enablers for biodiversity protection. The Theory of Planned Behaviour was used to explain the results of this research. Negative perceived control factors in the form of financial and resource constraints, and positive perceived control factors in the form of financial assistance were found to either prevent or stimulate participation. On the basis of the empirical evidence provided by this study, governments and policy makers would be advised to harness the motivations of private landowners and take into account their perceived motivators, barriers, and enablers when designing conservation programs. Conservation programs need to consider private landowners and managers environmental stewardship motivations and the need for financial incentives to push behavioural intention towards action.