Testing participatory processes for marine management

Person on rocky foreshore with town in background

We are identifying the best ways to involve interested parties in decision-making about the governance and management of marine environments.

Project leaders: Dr Paula Blackett, NIWA & Prof Richard Le Heron, University of Auckland

Duration: April 2016 – June 2019 
Budget: $1,310,000 
Status: Completed
 

In Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, there is a move towards using collective or ‘participatory’ decision-making in marine resource management.  

Our research found that people participate in decisions about the marine environment in different ways depending on the opportunities available. For example, community groups and initiatives (e.g. coast care) tend to form when a problem is local and can be solved with local actions and resources. Activist groups tend to appear when a group cannot affect change on their own and need to involve others to make change happen. Others participate through complex collaborative processes established and led by a central or local government agency. Each of these ways of participating are set against a complex backdrop of institutions, relationships, contested multi-uses, and existing positions, rights and aspirations.  

The range of ways in which participation occurs and the different scales at which it happens means that there is no single recipe to follow to ensure success. However, we have identified several factors which are important:

  • Encouraging co-learning/social learning within the participation process. 
  • Providing room for co-design and co-facilitation in any process. 
  • Building capacity for co-leadership throughout. 
  • Involving a diverse range of people. 
  • Recognising that participatory processes are mandated bases for action that must be constantly refreshed. 
  • Negotiating a vision that is transformational, then focusing on how to implement it.  

 
Journal articles 

  • Le Heron E, Le Heron R, Blackett P, Davies K, Logie J, Allen W, Greenaway A & Glavovic B (2019). It's not a recipe... but there are ingredients. Navigating negotiated changes through participatory processes in marine spaces. Planning Quarterly 213, 32-37. 
  • Le Heron E, Logie J, Allen W, Le Heron R, Blackett P, Davies K, Greenaway A Glavovic B & Hikuroa D (2019). Diversity, contestation, participation in Aotearoa New Zealand's multi-use/user marine spaces. Marine Policy 106: 103536 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103536

Book chapters

  • Le Heron R, Blackett P, Logie J, Hikuroa D, Le Heron E, Greenaway A, Glavovic B, Davies K, Allen W, Simmonds N & Lundquist C (2018). Participatory processes for implementation in Aotearoa New Zealand’s multi-use/user marine spaces? Unacknowledged and unaddressed issues. Heidkamp CP and Morrissey J (eds) Towards coastal resilience and sustainability, Routledge, Oxford.

 

Latest news and updates

Where's our research happening?

We’ve developed an interactive map that shows the locations and key information of all our research projects. The aim is to help connect people with the research happening in their community.

Media statement: Today's marine environment report from MfE and StatsNZ

Julie Hall, Director: "It is deeply concerning that the state of our marine environment has not improved in the last three years. Resilient coasts and oceans are essential to New Zealanders' health and wealth, so urgent action is needed to address the decline. There is a growing need for ecosystem-based management (EBM) to holistically manage risk and sustain Aotearoa's coasts and oceans. This is even more important given the ongoing impacts of climate change."

Job opportunity: Communications advisor

Do you have science communication skills and at least 2 years experience? Do you care about Aotearoa's oceans and how people use/value our seas? Then we've got a job for you.