Thumbnail Image

Coastal communities, leisure and wellbeing: Advancing a trans-disciplinary agenda for understanding ocean-human relationships in Aotearoa New Zealand

Commentators are advocating for research to better understand relationships between healthy coastal ecosystems and human wellbeing. Doing so requires inter- and transdisciplinary approaches across humanities, arts, social sciences, and science and technology disciplines. These approaches include culturally diverse knowledge systems, such as indigenous ones, that locate sustainable use of and relationships to marine ecosystems. This paper contributes to this agenda through a case-study of relationships between coastal ecosystems and human wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand. This article highlights interconnected cultural and wellbeing benefits of, and socio-ecological relationships between, these coastal ecosystems drawing on a case study of one ocean-based, ‘immersive’ leisure activity, surfing. Further, it examines how these relationships impact human physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and the wellbeing of communities and ecosystems. The research illustrates that surfing creates strong bonds between practitioners and coastal places, linking the health of marine environments and people. We demonstrate the value of a transdisciplinary place-based approach that integrates research across the humanities and social sciences and engages with Indigenous knowledge (Mātauranga Māori). This argument for multicultural co-learning shows the value of Western and Māori vantage points for how we understand coastal blue spaces. Indigenous perspectives, we conclude, deepen appreciation, as well as equity considerations, of how we understand place, wellbeing, and long-term sustainable relationships with marine ecosystems.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.