Macquarie University
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Unsettling openings: collaborative environmental management and Maōri in Taranaki

posted on 2022-03-28, 02:00 authored by Matalena Rose Tofa
This thesis explores the politics of collaboration between Indigenous communities and government agencies for environmental management in the context of postcolonial Indigenous development and self-determination. Recent shifts towards participatory and collaborative models in environmental management have often proven insufficient to address justice concerns and satisfy Indigenous aspirations. However, they have allowed opportunities for relationship building and reciprocal learning. The theoretical tools of postdevelopment and postcolonial work allow a nuanced analysis of both the neocolonial limitations and the possibilities of collaboration in environmental management. From this perspective, collaboration involves sites of ongoing dialogue and transformation that reveal the fundamentally unsettled nature of postcolonial relationships and opportunities for mutuality and difference. Significantly, the politics of environmental management is inherently connected with Indigenous development and self-determination. This is not only because participation is often contingent on political and economic resources, but also because questions of historical justice and postcolonial territoriality and coexistence circle in, around and through contemporary Indigenous ambitions in environmental management. -- The focus of this thesis is on how Māori iwi [tribes] in Taranaki, New Zealand negotiate environmental management processes while also pursuing self-determination through iwi development and negotiated relationships with the government. Iwi organisations, whose work is shaped by the legacies of colonial dispossession and goals of cultural revitalisation, seek to assert and maintain their values within, through and beyond the frameworks provided by the nation-state. This work is particularly significant in the context of 'full and final' settlements between Māori and the government for historic grievances and rights over water and Mount Taranaki. Current iterations of participatory environmental management in Taranaki tend to affirm and buttress governmental eminence by including Māori cultural concerns within pre-existing managerial processes; in effect asserting governmental sovereignty over Māori territoriality. Despite this imperfect context, increased interaction has also enabled relationship building and greater mutual understanding. Collaboration, therefore, produces unsettling openings in the complexly entangled rights, responsibilities and relationships that shape postcolonial coexistence, revealing tensions, pluralism and mutuality across common ground.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Development, environmental management and Taranaki -- Chapter Two: Postcoloniality and Indigenous development -- Chapter Three: Environmental management, discourse and collaboration -- Chapter Four: Politics, research and Taranaki -- Chapter Five: History, development and environment in Taranaki -- Chapter SIx: Iwi development and postcoloniality in Taranaki -- Chapter Seven: Environmental management and postcoloniality -- Chapter Eight: Settlements, water and Taranaki maunga -- Chapter Nine: Postcoloniality and environmental management -- Appendices.


"A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geography. Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, Sydney, December 2010". Bibliography: pages 308-342

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science, Department of Environment and Geography

Department, Centre or School

Department of Environment and Geography

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sandie Suchet-Pearson

Additional Supervisor 1

Richie Howitt


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Matalena Rose Tofa 2011.




New Zealand


1 online resource (xvi, 342 pages) illustrations (some colour), maps

Former Identifiers

mq:27286 2003711