Māori Business Perceptions of the Potential Use of Biotechnologies in Pest Wasp Management
The government has set a target of Aotearoa becoming predator-free by 2050. Scientists see biotechnologies as a potential solution for pest management at large scale, with wasps identified as an opportune prototype for consideration as a trial. Wasps are identified to be costing $133 million annually to the New Zealand economy. Primary industries are most affected, spaces that Māori occupy as part of the burgeoning Māori economy. Given the complex relationship Māori have historically had with genetic modification and biotechnologies, and their involvement with industries said to benefit from wasp eradication, the views from Māori businesses are important. In this thesis, a kaupapa Māori, mixed-methodology study is conducted with people from eight businesses who intersect on these issues. Interviews helped gauge the ‘pulse’ of where Māori businesses stand on these issues. Five novel biotechnologies being actively researched for potential use, including gene drive and pheromone lures, are presented to participants. Which, if any, biotechnology might be acceptable for pest control? Views ranged from accepting to disapproving. A diverse economy framework is used to deepen understanding of participant priorities and implications for business values. Economic factors take a backseat and Māori values surface in non-market activity, transactions that deviate from capitalism, which are found to play an important role in decision-making on biotechnologies. A diverse economy framework thus sheds far more light on an issue than simple impact calculations. Communication of biotechnologies to lay audiences needs attention. Furthermore, impartial and credible evidence from multiple sources, not just scientists, is needed to best inform people on these issues.