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Aroha Spinks

Doctor of Philosophy, (Resource and Environmental Planning)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Restoring the Mauri of Coastal Dune Lake Ecosystems: The case study of Lake Waiorongomai, Otaki, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Lake Waiorongomai is a culturally significant sacred site just north of Ōtaki, New Zealand. This reflective narrative documents a hapū-led restoration project and cultural planning approach, which was based on hapū knowledge, kaupapa and tikanga. Research showed how cultural values can be used to guide action and facilitate knowledge growth across cultural boundaries (Māori and Pākehā), knowledge systems (mātauranga Māori and western science), as well as fields (resource and environmental planning, Māori studies, applied ecology and action research). Transformative change in this case study had positive effects on physical, cultural, social, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. Confident steps were taken to reclaim, reframe and re-instate the mana and mauri of this dune lake ecosystem (including its people). This expression of kaitiakitanga provides environmental planners and policy makers a real-world window into how transformative change can be achieved in a Māori cultural context through using a kaupapa Māori approach.

Professor Murray Patterson
Dr Huhana Smith
Professor Russell Death

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