Accepted Paper:

Making room: navigations of indigenous/folk knowledge in a key New Zealand community-based Biodiversity Conservation Project.   


Matthew Harms (The University of Waikato)

Paper short abstract:

In New Zealand's globally-significant Maungatautari eco-island biodiversity project, local New Zealand Pākehā (of British descent) and Māori variously navigate diverse knowledges, practices, and views of the project, its aims and aspects, relative to their variegated sociocultural backgrounds.

Paper long abstract:

This paper, based on three years of fieldwork data, relates and examines the multi-stakeholder relationship of Pākehā (New Zealanders of British descent) and Māori (New Zealanders of Polynesian descent) stakeholders and participants in the Maungatautari/Sanctuary Mountain Ecological Island biodiversity conservation project. The project, which commenced in 2001, has generally aimed to preserve in perpetuity some of New Zealand's most threatened endemic animal and plants species. The project's stakeholders, though possessing an intertwining history back to 1840, have unique sociocultural origins. Due to their differing sociocultural backgrounds, certain inter-cultural challenges have arisen in the project efforts and aspects of it. Throughout the existence of the project and the community-based trust behind it, stakeholders have confronted, and to varying degrees of success, navigated issues pertaining to the utilisation of indigenous and/or folk knowledge, practices, and viewpoints amidst Western, scientific, and modern understandings. This has, depending on the situation, either positively or negatively affected the multi-stakeholder collaborative sphere and aspects of the project. Recent developments in the structure of the project's trust and the 'ownership' status of the mountain vis-à-vis a Treaty of Waitangi claim settlement between the county's central government and the local subtribe, have effected changes which have seemingly produced a more conducive environment to the use of traditional indigenous knowledge. Even so, the utilisation of traditional and/or folk knowledge in the project continues to face persistent sociohistoric and significant and ongoing modern challenges.

Panel WIM-WHF04
Indigenous knowledge and sustainable development