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Environmentalism for the environment's sake: Towards an understanding of the influence of the Māori worldview on Western environmental management perspectives in Aotearoa New Zealand through a lens of nature connectivity

Individual perceptions of the natural world may be influenced by place, culture, and value systems. In exploring these perceptions through measures of environmental connectedness, this study considers the uniqueness of the socio-cultural systems of Aotearoa New Zealand in shaping individual environmental engagement. This research examines the implications of the inclusion of Māori values in environmental management policies dominated by Western environmental conceptualisations. Through semi-structured interviews of five participants who work in environmental fields in the Hamilton, Waikato Region of Aotearoa New Zealand, this research explores conceptualisations of identity and environmental discourses, interpretations of the Māori concept of kaitiakitanga and the Western concept of stewardship, career connectedness, and place attachment to Aotearoa New Zealand. Additionally, results from an online survey questionnaire of twelve respondents compare measures of connectedness to nature of respondents from California, United States of America, with those from the Waikato Region, Aotearoa New Zealand. Key findings highlight how anthropogenic worldviews can be unconscious, how understandings of cultural values may be a key factor of a strengthened environmental commitment, how expressions of Indigeneity are of value in the sciences, and how there is importance in the link between conservation values and the Māori worldview. This study exposes the importance of the implementation of improved training about, and inclusion of, Indigenous knowledge within environmental organisations in order to develop conscious awareness of how Indigenous information is being translated, applied, and respected.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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