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The Price of Mauri: Exploring the validity of Welfare Economics when seeking to measure Mātauranga Māori

Since the 1980s New Zealand has pursued neo-classical or market-based policies with a particular fervour. Market-based options are seen by resource management decision makers as essential frameworks for efficiently allocating resources, an approach that continues to support the view of the inherent dominance of Western knowledge. This is particularly concerning, given that Māori (the indigenous people of New Zealand), have an important role to play in New Zealand resource management and perceive their own knowledge systems have been marginalised. The primary goal of this thesis is to explore the validity of welfare economics when seeking to measure quantitatively Mātauranga Māori or Māori views of the environment through the contingent valuation method. A contingent valuation study is carried out using three separate samples drawn from the general Māori population in Auckland city, a hāpu/sub-tribe indigenous to the Auckland isthmus, and drivers of motor vehicles in Auckland city. Data collection modes include a postal survey and face-to-face interviews. This thesis challenges the validity of political-legal ethnicity constructs to measure Mātauranga Māori. The search for a central tendency will lead to biased, misleading and inaccurate results. The thesis also challenges the validity of contingent valuation to produce true economic measures and to measure and identify Mātauranga Māori. Despite advances in analytical techniques, economic efficiency measures are always deficient, given the difficulty of capturing and anticipating all impacts and valuing them appropriately. Mātauranga Māori is derived from a Māori epistemology and should be considered or analysed with primary reference to this body of knowledge. Economic analysis is only one important cog in the machinery of resource management policy. Given that an economist's contribution to local and regional resource management is most valuable when focusing on the economic efficiency of the proposed resource allocation, it is appropriate that other perspectives such as Mātauranga Māori be considered.
Type of thesis
Awatere, S. (2008). The Price of Mauri: Exploring the validity of Welfare Economics when seeking to measure Mātauranga Māori (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2631
The University of Waikato
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