Finding synergistic conservation values? Māori tikanga, science, resource management and law
Simon, K. (2007). Finding synergistic conservation values? Māori tikanga, science, resource management and law (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2639
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2639
In this doctorate, I provide a balanced and collaborative approach to knowledge/value change between the contesting worldviews of indigenous knowledge and western science, termed 'synergistic'. My search for synergy is comparative and reconciliatory. This endeavours to overcome the popular pre-occupation with conflict and opposition. Rather, both difference and similarity are recognised. Through the comparison of such synergy, I argue that Māori development requires for its further advancement a focus not only on difference and conflict, but also on affinity and convergence. My primary concern is to establish a better understanding of the synergistic, adaptive strategies or indigenous innovation of Māori kaitiaki, environmental stewards. I investigate conflicting and converging Māori and western scientific conservation and use values in Aotearoa/New Zealand environmental governance and management regimes under the Resource Management Act 1991, with specific regard to indicator development. The balance of values were compared in ecological environmental governance, from five Aotearoa governmental authorities and three Māori river communities, utilising Māori and western social science methods. My focus on indicators pinpoints contesting knowledge/value change between the marginalisation of indigenous knowledge and dominance of western science. This seeks to highlight the potential viability of Māori kaitiakitanga, stewardship in global and national terms of sustainability. However, potential synergy is held back by a prevailing viewpoint of the indigenous worldview as backward, past-oriented and non-synergistic. An oppositional dogma predominates, which is a key problem to overcome. It spans world and national literature, resulting in considerable gaps in knowledge on synergy, conceptually, methodologically, empirically and analytically. This is addressed by an authoritative Māori synergistic standpoint from my own cultural lens and decolonised theorising, termed 'nuanced problem solving'. I articulate both worldviews in knowledge/value change through comparative, evolutionary, multi-dimensional, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary research on synergy. My nuanced problem solving encapsulates the two main parts of the doctorate, whereby synergy is correlated between theory and social practice. Part one deals with value comparison in theory utilising high abstracted concepts and methods at the global level of environmental governance. Part two deals with value balance in social practice utilising medium abstracted and concrete empirical and analytical research at global, national, regional, district and cross-tribal levels of environmental governance. Potential synergy cross-cuts each part from high abstracted thought down and from the practical flax roots up. I argue that Māori advancement fluctuates between them. Drawing on cultural and theoretical leanings of the Māori synergistic standpoint, both a strong correlation with existing theory and expanded synergistic theorising was found. Due to the expansiveness of the research, these correlated findings only provide an embryonic understanding of potential synergy. A postscript describes my other work on synergy with five external agencies concerning foreshore, lakeside, wastewater, land disposal and carbon marketing kaitiakitanga. I argue that additional research on synergy is needed in order to further advance Māori.
The University of Waikato
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