Our Seas

Slow-shutter photo of waves lapping onto the rocky shore

Developing ways to enhance engagement and participation across all sectors of society, resulting in more efficient and effective decision-making using ecosystem-based management (EBM)

Programme leader: Carolyn Lundquist, NIWA/University of Auckland

A major goal of our research is to create new ways for people to get involved in collaborative decision-making around the management of New Zealand’s marine estate.

Ocean management processes have been criticised for having limited input from non-industry stakeholders and/or the public. They also do not sufficiently incorporate indigenous knowledge, hindering Māori from participating as Māori and as Treaty Partners in marine management.

This programme explores participatory processes and frameworks – ie the way people are involved in making decisions. Our aim is to increase engagement from all sectors of society in EBM, which will lead to more efficient and effective decision-making for New Zealand’s marine resources and environments


Testing EBM-supportive participatory processes for application in multi-use marine environments

What's the best way to get everyone involved in decisions?

This project is identifying the optimum ways to involve different interest groups in discussions and decision-making around the governance and management of marine environments.

Frameworks for achieving and maintaining social licence

What's social licence and how do you get it?

Public trust is an important aspect of any commercial activity. We are investigating how different parties understand this concept of ‘social licence’, and explore how it can be achieved and maintained between communities.  

Navigating marine social-ecological systems

How to build trust in science?

Our aim is to identify and/or improve our understanding of important institutional, social and cultural factors that need to be incorporated into ecosystem-based management, for it to be successfully used to manage New Zealand’s marine estate.

Participatory processes for marine ecosystem restoration (innovation fund)

Ōngātoro/Maketu Estuary case study

The Kaituna River re-diversion strategy is widely regarded as an exemplary case of multi-stakeholder and multi-iwi engagement in marine ecosystem governance. We are investigating the way the strategy was developed, to identify the principles and practices that could be applied in other marine resource contexts.

Navigating the implementation impasse - enabling interagency collaboration on cumulative effects (innovation fund)

Collaborating to tackle cumulative effects

Managing the cumulative effects from natural events and human activities is one of the most urgent and complex problems facing our coastal and marine ecosystems. The many agencies responsible for managing these spaces are working together to address this challenge.

Latest news and updates

Consultation opens re 2019–2024 strategy

Improving marine management is critical to New Zealand's future health and wealth, but research in isolation is not enough. Excellent engagement with, and participation from, all users and sectors of society is essential.

We therefore invite comment on our draft strategy for Phase II (2019–2024). This strategy has been co-developed with Māori and stakeholders.

Social licence and NZ aquaculture

Our research has found that personal relationships go a long way towards aquaculture companies gaining/maintaining community acceptance and social licence to operate.

Video: The Unseen

The story so far: 14 workshops, 1,300 school children and 15km of rope!

This arts-science-education project is working with communities and school children to explore the risks associated with environmental and climate change, and how this might affect the way we manage New Zealand’s marine ecosystems.