Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Freshwater Management: An Aotearoa/New Zealand Case Study

By Maui Hudson, Kevin Collier, Shaun Awatere, Garth Harmsworth, Jacqueline Henry, John Quinn, Russell G. Death, David P. Hamilton, John Te Maru, Erina Watene-Rawiri and Mahuru Robb.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society, Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 8, 2016 $US5.00

Freshwater environments are challenged by multiple pressures from all parts of society, as well as contests over ownership and availability as a public or private resource. In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples are one part of society asserting rights in relation to water and advocating for the inclusion of indigenous knowledge within policy frameworks. Aotearoa New Zealand provides a fascinating case study of efforts to demonstrate the value and utility of indigenous knowledge (mātauranga Māori) in addressing contemporary issues of freshwater management. National policy statements for freshwater now recognize the role of Māori communities in decision-making and acknowledge the potential for mātauranga Māori to inform the management of freshwater. In a regional context, treaty settlements have resulted in specific provisions for tribal (iwi) consultation and engagement, and the formulation of iwi management plans that will underpin freshwater management into the future. The New Zealand experience illustrates the challenges of integrating different value sets and knowledge traditions as part of the governance and management regime. We argue that “post-normal” science provides a theoretical basis for problem-solving complex issues related to science and indigenous knowledge based on the notion that uncertainty, value loading, and the plurality of legitimate perspectives are an integral part of the context for policy making, particularly for the natural environment.

Keywords: Indigenous Knowledge, Freshwater Management, Values, Epistemology, Integration, Environment

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 8, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 714.286KB)).

Maui Hudson

Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Dr. Kevin Collier

Associate Professor, Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Dr. Shaun Awatere

Researcher, Governance and Policy, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Hamilton, New Zealand

Garth Harmsworth

Research Lead, Policy and Governance, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Jacqueline Henry

Social Scientist, Science and Strategy, Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton, New Zealand

Dr. John Quinn

Chief Scientist, Freshwater and Estuaries, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Hamilton, New Zealand

Dr. Russell G. Death

Professor, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dr. David P. Hamilton

Professor, Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

John Te Maru

Researcher, Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

Erina Watene-Rawiri

Environmental Research Manager, Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand

Mahuru Robb

Researcher, Governance and Policy, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Hamilton, New Zealand