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Contribution to Book
Integrating Indigenous Cultural Traditions in the Management of Protected Marine Resources – the Fiordland Example
Sustaining Our Social and Natural Capital (2006)
  • James Mize, Victoria University of Wellington
Indigenous communities that rely upon natural resources for their cultural practices and livelihood depend on the health of the ecosystem for traditional practices to continue. Yet government efforts to protect ecosystem integrity by “locking up” resources in spatially-explicit management regimes that prohibit resource use risks the disruption of indigenous cultural traditions compatible with sustainability. This tension can be seen in the Te Wāhipounamu / South West New Zealand (Fiordland) area, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, subject to increasing pressure from visitors and other non-traditional use. New Zealand statutes governing the management of adjacent marine resources recognize and incorporate Māori communities’ capacity to manage natural resources health consistent with principles of kaitiakitanga (guardianship). This paper provides an academic legal analysis that traces the evolution of recognition of Māori practices of taiapure and mataitai in the management of Fiordland marine resources, culminating in the inclusion of representation of the local iwi (tribe), Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, on the Fiordland Marine Guardians management authority established in the Fiordland (Te Moana O Atawhenua) Marine Management Act of 2005. In this paper, I evaluate how the elements of Māori rangatiratanga (sovereignty, or autonomous self-regulation) are integrated in central government regulations, and make recommendations for application of similar statutory tools in situations where traditional cultural use may be threatened from protective management measures advanced in the face of increased non-traditional impacts.
Publication Date
R. Attwater and J. Merson
Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence
Proceedings of the 12th Annual Australia-New Zealand Systems Society (ANZSYS) Conference
Citation Information
James Mize. "Integrating Indigenous Cultural Traditions in the Management of Protected Marine Resources – the Fiordland Example" Sustaining Our Social and Natural Capital. Ed. R. Attwater and J. Merson. Katoomba, NSW Australia: Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence, 2006.