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Māori environmental statistics

This chapter lists the questions about Māori environmental statistics that we would like addressed. We present a summary of the analysis of the official data that addresses those questions. We then outline the initiatives that have been identified to address our Māori environmental statistics information needs.

The environment is at the core of many decisions made by and for Māori. These decisions include planning (for example, asset management, Resource Management Act 1991 responsibilities, hazard management) or around business concerns (for example, environmental management decisions on fisheries, forestry, and agriculture).

The Māori economic model clearly reflects the need for the sustainable use of resources. This model implies an environmental conscience in using land, and coastal and marine resources. The workshop on Māori environmental statistics showed there is very little data available that reflects the Māori perspective – a view that wants to see the environment preserved and managed sustainably for the future.

Māori environmental statistics questions

This section presents the enduring questions and the supplementary enduring questions on Māori environmental statistics.

Enduring questions

From a Māori1 perspective, why, where, and how is New Zealand's environment changing, and what impact is this having on Māori aspirations2 and well-being?3

Notes

  1. Māori includes individuals with a Māori cultural identity and ancestry (whakapapa); including Māori belonging to iwi / hapū / whānau (tribe / subtribe / family), marae, Māori organisations, urban authorities, kaitiaki (caretaking) groups, Māori landowners, Māori businesses, and Māori networks.
  2. Aspirations include, but are not limited to, desired goals, preferences, and outcomes based on cultural values.
  3. Well-being refers to, but is not limited to, cultural, spiritual, social, physical, economic, and political well-being.

Supplementary enduring questions

A. How well are Māori represented in the governance and management of natural resources, and how effective is this representation for achieving desired outcomes for Māori?

B. Where, why, and how are the abundance of taonga (treasured) species and mahinga kai (customary food gathering areas and practices) changing?1

C. Where, why, and how is the condition of taonga species and mahinga kai changing?

D. What is the condition of sites of cultural, spiritual, and natural significance?2

E. To what extent are Māori able to access natural and customary resources, and what, if any, are the impediments?

F. Where, why, and how are land cover and land use changing3 on Māori land through time?

G. Where and how are Māori practising and implementing kaitiakitanga (caretaking) across defined areas or regions?4

Notes

  1. May include the presence/absence of such species or mahinga kai, the distribution/location, or the abundance/scarcity.
  2. Can include significant sites and areas such as wāhi taonga and wāhi tapu (eg puke (hill), maunga (mountain), awa (river), manga (stream), roto (lake), repo (swamp), ara (pathway), marae (meeting area), pā (village) sites) at the discretion of iwi / hapū / whānau. Does not include highly confidential or sensitive areas.
  3. Includes changes in areal extent of Māori land.
  4. Includes land, air, freshwater, coastal, and marine areas.

Gap analysis

Table 18 summarises how well official information (including Crown research institute data) informs the supplementary enduring questions on Māori environmental statistics. See appendix 3 for details of the analysis process.

Table 18 
How well official data informs supplementary enduring questions on Māori environmental statistics

Supplementary enduring question (SEQ)  Question topic  Level at which official data informs SEQ 
Māori representation in resource governance  Low 
Abundance of taonga species and mahinga kai  Medium 
Condition of taonga species and mahinga kai  Low 
Condition of sites of significance  Low 
Access natural and customary resources  Low 
Land cover and land use change on Māori land  Medium 
Practising kaitiakitanga  Low 

We scored two datasets as highly informing the supplementary enduring questions:

  • Māori Land Online
  • Our Environment.

Māori environmental statistics initiatives

In December 2012, experts at a Statistics NZ workshop discussed the Māori environmental statistics work programme. They identified key emergent themes and issues on the topic. Some of these issues were already identified at a previous gap analysis.

Workshop participants identified a set of initiatives to address these key themes and issues. For other topic workshops, participants prioritised the initiatives through a voting process. For the Māori environmental statistics topic, the initiatives were regarded as being of equal priority and sequential and so no voting was needed. For the Māori Environmental Statistics programme to be successful four key initiatives were identified and actions developed for each:

MES1 Develop an engagement programme for Māori environmental statistics

It will be essential to develop a consistent framework and process for engagement with iwi/hapū to guide the building of future relationships, respect, and trust. As part of this initiative it is necessary to develop a tikanga-based approach and kaupapa – a plan/set of principles/ideas and protocols to guide the engagement process and inform our behaviour and customs. The tikanga-based approach and kaupapa will also identify the key parties (ie who would be involved on both sides and at what level). It will clearly explain why iwi/hapū should be involved in the Māori environmental statistics programme and what the benefits are for involvement. It will also help us understand the Māori view of the environment. A principal goal for this initiative will be to build capacity for understanding and assessing Māori environmental statistics –- both externally (with iwi) and internally (within Government).

MES2 Develop a strategy and mandate for Māori environmental statistics

Explore the information needs on Māori environmental statistics, and set up a mandate for doing this. This initiative will draw on the findings from initiative MES1, develop an engagement programme for Māori environmental statistics, to explain why iwi/hapū should be involved in the Māori environmental statistics programme and the benefits for involvement.

MES3 Establish governance for Māori environmental statistics

Establish a ‘project governance model’. Doing this will need careful scoping to differentiate the Māori environmental statistics work programme from other wider issues (eg deciding whether inter-generational issues should be explicitly dealt with). This initiative will identify the correct processes needed to coordinate government and Māori views on the importance of this work, determine the needs of both parties, and decide how best to resource this work programme and maintain ongoing relationships among stakeholders.

MES4 Identify data sources for Māori environmental statistics

Identify the main sources of information or data that can be accessed to satisfy information needs. It will also identify areas where no data is currently available, and the spatial and temporal nature of this data. Some potential sources of data for Māori environmental statistics were discussed and identified at the December 2012 workshop. One significant source identified is that of historical narratives and oral histories, such as those documented in the Treaty of Waitangi claims and reports (see Waitangi tribunal). Participants at the workshop agreed there is a wide resource of ‘untapped knowledge’ available. This untapped knowledge could provide qualitative and quantifiable information on Māori perspectives, and be relevant to the sustainability of the environment (eg. knowledge of the historical state against the current state of the natural environment, particularly on benchmarking mahinga kai species, taonga species, aspects of manawhenua, kaitiakitanga, rangatiratanga, manaakitanga). Data in local government archives may provide an understanding of culturally significant areas. It may also give information on areas under some form of Māori governance that show how natural resources are managed. In this initiative, we will explore opportunities to capture these resources with the aim of tracking change and providing trend information on the natural and cultural environment.

Māori environmental statistics initiatives table

Table 19 lists the Māori environmental statistics initiatives by complexity and the supplementary enduring questions they address.

Table 19
Māori environmental statistics initiatives by complexity and supplementary enduring question (SEQ) addressed

Initiative number  Initiative name  Complexity  Helps inform which SEQ 
MES1  Develop an engagement programme for Māori environmental statistics  Complex  All 
MES2  Develop a strategy and mandate for Māori environmental statistics  Complex  All 
MES3  Establish governance for Māori environmental statistics  Highly complex  All 
MES4  Identify data sources for Māori environmental statistics  Complex  B, C, G 
 
 

 

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