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Māori Values

In Te Ao Māori (‘the Māori World’), restoration projects include biocultural values which intersect cultural, societal, economic and environmental outcomes. However, the profiling of urban community restoration projects has focused on non-Māori groups and projects. Little is known about the characteristics of Māori-based restoration within urban contexts, and how Māori restoration values and priorities are applied. Our Māori Values research team are working to address the following four questions:

  1. What are the characteristics, restoration aims, and activities undertaken by Māori restoration groups?
  2. How do Māori who are living in cities execute kaitiakitanga when they reside in another iwi’s jurisdiction?
  3. Do Māori restoration groups have similar aims and implementation plans as other community based environmental restoration groups?
  4. How can cities and restoration projects facilitate increasing connectivity and practicing of kaitiakitanga through restoration projects?

To determine the characteristics of Māori engagement in urban environmental restoration projects, restoration objectives, and activities across three cities (Wellington, Hamilton and Nelson), we are building on results of an existing national survey that was conducted on non-Māori urban community based environmental restoration groups. Our survey contains similar methodology to investigate how Māori in urban settings engage with restoration.

We will then focus on the strategies developed by a mana whenua-led case study; focussing on how this group prioritises restoration goals, and how they balance ecological restoration (e.g. the protection of rare species) with biocultural restoration, which may include resource use for cultural purposes.

To provide a deeper understanding of the range of factors that affect how Māori execute their kaitiakitanga, we will conduct semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key group members across three cities. We will particularly seek to understand how Māori execute their kaitiakitanga when living in their home towns/cities and when they live in another iwi’s jurisdiction.

Increase connectivity and practicing of katiakitanga
Cities and restoration projects present opportunities for reconnecting iwi with opportunities to practice kaitiakitanga. Using information gathered in our surveys and interviews, we will identify opportunities to practice kaitiakitanga, and opportunities in our partner sites for restoration of species and practices. We will analyse the variation by site and Māori group origin to inform restoration initiatives in each city, improve engagement and kaitiakitanga by tangata whenua, and increase opportunities for Māori where they live.

Study sites
The study sites for the Māori Values research project are:

  • Hamilton
  • Wellington
  • Nelson

Research Team



Erana Walker