Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Kaitiaki Environmental Impact Assessment and Reporting (KEIA-R)

Māori organisations in New Zealand face increasing workloads to address a myriad of complex and interconnected cultural, social, environmental and economic issues and facilitate interaction and engagement with many agencies, industry and community groups. Māori are also increasingly asserting their rights to effectively manage natural and cultural resources through governance mechanisms that achieve greater participation, ownership, and co-management. However, effective management requires meaningful ways to connect to, articulate, monitor and report on impacts to specific tangible and spiritual values that support kaitiaki and kaitiakitanga (environmental guardianship, mana whenua, rangatiratanga).

Frameworks and tools are important ways of organising and applying knowledge to address complex and multi-dimensional issues. In New Zealand environmental planning and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) generally lack significant Māori participation and involvement. This results in a paucity of qualitative and quantitative data about cultural impacts to community health and wellbeing from activities such as roading, mining, contaminants, agricultural, industrial and urban development.

KEIA-R is a framework to help identify issues of cultural connection to landscape-use and cultural values within a Maori community.

What we are aiming to do

Increasing Māori community capability to effectively engage in these processes through the use of a ‘tool-box’ approach was the focus of this research. We worked with kaitiaki end-users, who identified their issues and concerns and requirements for a framework that can scope the issues, identify appropriate tools, and help with responses and decision-making.

What we will investigate and how

A case study approach has been used to develop the Kaitiaki Environmental Impact Assessment and Reporting (KEIA-R) framework, driven by local issues to identify a Maori community’s aspirations, values, needs, and expected outcomes for their hapuu and representative marae. The framework was developed collaboratively with Maori organisations under the umbrella of the Waahi Whaanui Trust (an established Maori Trust within the tribe of Waikato-Tainui) and with six Marae that have a strong genealogical connection to their ancestral river and lands. We provide examples of the use of this framework particularly in response to increasing pressures (e.g., degradation, exploitation, and privatisation) on both natural and cultural resources.

Expected outcomes and achievements

The resulting Kaitiaki Environmental Impact Assessment and Reporting (KEIA-R) framework addresses cultural-environmental issues and required actions . The KEIA-R framework is designed to scope the needs of kaitiaki and offers a step-by-step guide and process for kaitiaki practitioners in specific regions or districts. It is designed to help kaitiaki respond to day-to-day cultural-environmental issues (e.g. processing resource consents) based on their needs, goals, aspirations and desired outcomes. The KEIA-R is based on elements that are relevant to defining cultural connection to landscape-use and cultural values as it relates to environmental issues.