Te Awa Tupua: Peace, justice and sustainability through Indigenous tourism

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Scheyvens R
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Taylor and Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Te Awa Tupua is an ancestor of the Māori people of Whanganui, and is also the Whanganui River, who in 2017 was formally recognised as a person. While legally conferring personhood upon an element of nature is relatively novel, it recognises a fundamental principle of indigeneity, that all things—human and nonhuman—are related. We explore intersections of peace, justice, and sustainability through Indigenous tourism in case studies of three Māori tourism enterprises on Te Awa Tupua (the Whanganui River). Our paper spotlights three findings. First, that treaty settlements elevate the status of Māori knowledge and contain elements of peace-making and economy-making as decolonising projects of self-determined development. Second, while indigeneity is foundational, we found that syncretism is evident in the sustainability of Māori tourism enterprises. Third, we uncovered a socioecological dissonance in attitudes towards commercial growth, with Māori tourism enterprises opting for slower and lower growth in favour of environmental and community wellbeing. We propose a model of Indigenous tourism called kaupapa tāpoi. We conclude by suggesting that reconciling differences in viewpoints on sustainability and growth between Māori and non-Māori tourism enterprises will require involvement of several institutional actors, starting with Te Awa Tupua.
Te Awa Tupua, indigeneity, Indigenous tourism, sustainability, Aotearoa New Zealand, M&#257, ori tourism, Whanganui
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, 2022, 30 (2-3), pp. 637 - 657