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Role of indigenous Māori people in collaborative water governance in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Informed by debates in recent literature on indigenous peoples’ role in water governance, our research examines recent initiatives to enhance the role of Māori in water governance in Aotearoa/New Zealand based on the case of recently reinvented hybrid governance arrangements for Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. The water governance landscape in New Zealand has been significantly reconfigured in the last 25 years, with wide-ranging changes precipitated by the neo-liberal agendas of recent governments. Running alongside this neo-liberal agenda was the revival of indigenous rights language during the 1970s, a reflection of growing political recognition of the aboriginal customary natural resource ownership and management rights. Set within this geo-political context, we argue that three factors, property rights, globalisation and the regulatory planning environment for management, both enable and constrain indigenous people to govern natural resources within a post-colonial society such as New Zealand.
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Keywords: Māori; New Zealand; collaborative planning; indigenous; water governance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Environmental Management,Lincoln University, New Zealand

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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