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Whakaoranga taiao, whakaoranga tangata: The restorative, healing, and decolonising potential of environmental restoration

This thesis explores the ways in which Māori who are involved in environmental restoration are able to use their experiences to reconnect with Te Ao Māori. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three Māori who have been involved in environmental restoration in and around Kirikiriroa. These research participants were also able to speak to what they have observed in other restoration projects at their respective marae and comment broadly about this work as it is taking place across Aotearoa. It became clear through this research that the impacts of history and colonisation are still felt heavily by Māori in the environmental space today. For Māori involved in environmental restoration, this is a place where they are able to learn and share knowledge and reconnect with their Māoritanga. Environmental restoration can help restore wairua relationships with the whenua and strengthen Maori wellbeing through strengthening relationships with the whenua. Engaging in environmental restoration supports decolonisation as, for the aforementioned outcomes of doing so, being in these spaces supports the affirmation of an Indigenous identity.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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