Looking back...thinking forward : Indigenous leadership, community engagement, dialogic space and integrated catchment management in NZ

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Dodson, Giles
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Northland (N.Z.)
marine protection
cross-cultural collaboration
Dodson, G. R. (2015, June). Looking back..thinking forward: Indigenous leadership, community engagement, dialogic space and integrated catchment management in NZ. Paper presented at Conference on Communication and the Environment (IECA) Bridging Spaces of Scholarship and Practice in Environmental Communication, Boulder, Colorado.
This paper analyses the processes community engagement and dialogue which are part of an ongoing collaborative stakeholder partnership in Northland, New Zealand. This project - the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group – is a multi-stakeholder partnership, led by indigenous (Māori) groups. The project seeks to bridge several divides; adopting a large-scale ‘whole of ecosystem’ conceptual approach to understanding; addressing the environmental pressures on the Kaipara Harbour catchment ; and integrating indigenous and western environmental management practices. As a partnership, the IKHMG is centrally concerned with the creation of deliberative and dialogic spaces through which community partnership and collaboration is formed. Primary among these dialogic spaces has been the IKHMG’s ‘flagship farm’ initiative and the community symposium, Kaipara Moana: Looking back…thinking forward, held in 2014. The central research questions that this paper addresses is: * How can community dialogue support the development of community driven integrated environmental management and bridge divides between community members, landowners, indigenous groups and environmental managers? * What processes of dialogue are effective in achieving these aims and how can community-based dialogue contribute to catchment management frameworks? The research paper is based on ethnographic engagement with the IKHMG over a six month period in 2014, including during the Community Symposium and on in-depth interviews conducted with key members of the IKHMG, including project coordinators, indigenous leaders, farmer, and environmental managers. The project critically examines this project using concepts of participatory dialogue and community participation in environmental initiatives, including the use of mātauranga Māori within environmental management and environmental policy development. The paper argues that initiatives such as community symposia are effective dialogic tools in engaging community in integrated management approaches. However, translating support into integrated environmental management practices continues to pose a serious challenge, exposing the limits to community participatory communication.
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