Mauri Moana, Mauri Tangata, Mauri Ora

Fishing on rocks. © Darryl Ward, New Zealand Story

We are exploring ways to assess the values New Zealanders hold for the marine environment.

Project leader: Shaun Awatere, Landcare Research

Duration: April 2016 – July 2019 
Budget: $675,000 
Status: Completed

Economic benefits are often the primary consideration in marine environmental planning, policy, and decision-making in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our research is exploring the need to recognise ecosystem services and non-monetary benefits of the oceans when planning. We need to acknowledge the importance of ecological, social, spiritual, metaphysical and moral values. 

We have identified three key social values emerging from people’s association with the sea in Aotearoa New Zealand:  

  1. Physical benefits and recreational activities, such as surfing, swimming and fishing,  
  2. Spiritual benefits, such as peace and tranquillity,  
  3. Communal benefits, such as social cohesiveness through shared activities or whānau gatherings at the beach.  

Māori are partners in the management of marine environment and are increasingly interested in co-management and co-governance. We have found that, while resource management agreements increasingly recognise the legitimacy of Māori values as part of decision-making processes, there are difficulties in applying this to policy and regulatory systems. 

We are advocating a shared governance framework - Te Waka Taurua - to promote Māori values at all stages of the resource management process, from the formation of governance institutions through to application of policy and interventions by government agencies and iwi/hapū. Te Waka Taurua is metaphorical framework where indigenous values and broader social values can be considered in a balanced way, either individually or together. A Waka Taurua is a temporary double canoe, formed by lashing two waka together to achieve a common purpose.

Journal articles

Makey L & Awatere S (2018). He Mahere Pāhekoheko Mō Kaipara Moana–Integrated Ecosystem-Based Management for Kaipara Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand. Society & Natural Resources, 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2018.1484972

Šunde C, Sinner J, Tadaki M, Stephenson J, Glavovic B, Awatere S, Giorgetti A, Lewis N, Young A & Chan K (2018). Valuation as destruction? The social effects of valuation processes in contested marine spaces. Marine Policy 97, 170-178 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.05.024

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.