Restoration as reconnection: a relational approach to urban stream repair in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
Urban stream environments have been significantly altered through processes of colonisation and urbanisation in pursuit of land for development and control over natural resources. The science and practice of river restoration has struggled to deconstruct the human-nature duality embedded in Western ontologies and draw in environmental social sciences and humanities to advance understandings of ‘restoration’ and its objectives. In Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, there is growing interest in how to peel back layers of the city to restore what was there before or conceive what kind of nature might grow. More- than-human geographies can play a critical role in contributing to these efforts, guiding understandings of what it means to restore streams and live alongside them in urban centres. This research draws out the interdisciplinary potential of more-than-human theory to explore how community-based restorationists articulate and practice ethics for and with Waimapihi Stream in Te Whanganui-a- Tara Wellington. A more-than-human approach allows for a focus on the relational framings, ethics, and practices through which relational agency is achieved, and the ways this agency shapes practices and processes in the restoration of Waimapihi stream.