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Culture and climate change: A study of future-proofing Māori tourism businesses

This thesis explores how prepared Māori tourism businesses are to adapt to climate change and how Māori values may influence the business's perception of responses to climate change. As climate impacts are growing in New Zealand, as a result of increasing extreme weather events, how can Māori tourism businesses protect their taonga (resources)? Taonga in the context of this study includes Māori values, lands, seas and their businesses. Furthermore, the literature indicates that Māori tourism significantly contributes to the economic, social and cultural wellbeing for Māori and wider New Zealand (NZ Māori Tourism, 2018). At a specific level, the study focuses on three Māori tourism businesses. Two of the businesses are North Island-based whānau-owned enterprises, one on Kāpiti Island and the other in Napier. The third is a hapū-owned business located in Kaikoura in the South Island. Drawing on kaupapa Māori frameworks built on Māori struggles for tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake (self-determination), the study adheres to kaupapa Māori principles of carrying out research by Māori to benefit Māori. The primary data for the study was collected through semi-structured interviews with each of the businesses, taking care to ensure the cultural safety of the participants and using appropriate tikanga (protocol) in each interview. The findings of the study show that Māori tourism businesses are adapting to environmental changes but are unsure about the pace of climate change. The uncertainties are due to a lack of access to information and competing priorities within their businesses. The research also shows how decisions made by local government as well as business perceptions of local and central government institutions negatively impacts on the ability of businesses to adapt to climate change. While there were differences in the businesses’ treatment of science and scientific information, all of them prioritised Māori cultural values. Significantly, these values underpin all the activities of the businesses, including, environmental enhancement and protection. An emphasis on Māori values in facilitated partnerships between tourism businesses, government bodies, and other community stakeholders on co-designing climate change adaptation strategies can help the tourism sector to prepare for a changing climate.
Type of thesis
Tawhai, C. C. (2020). Culture and climate change: A study of future-proofing Māori tourism businesses (Thesis, Master of Management Studies (MMS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13504
The University of Waikato
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