Whaia te Pae Tawhiti Kia Tata, Whaia te Pae Tata Kia Mau: Rights, Responsibilities and Resistance: Exploring 'flax-root' Strategies for Ngāti Whātua Involvement in Aquaculture Within the Kaipara Harbour
The ocean (tangaroa) is an environment which has an extensive range of significance and uses for Māori, including commerce, sustenance, and customary practices, as well as providing a source of spiritual well-being and cultural identity. One aquatic resource practice traditionally used by Māori was a form of aquaculture, however the historical and contemporary processes of colonisation have excluded Māori from this customarily significant resource use. This research embarks on a collaborative approach with Ngāti Whātua (an iwi of the Auckland/Northland region) to rectify this situation through identifying 'flax-roof' (on-the-ground and practical) strategies to enhance their involvement in aquaculture within the Kaipara harbour. A 'Māori-Centred' qualitative methodological approach is adopted, incorporating a critical awareness of the colonising potential of research, and a rejection of passive individualistically beneficial research through focussing on 'empowering outcomes' for Māori. A diverse range of key informant interviews are conducted supported by secondary reports and Māori development literature, with the analysis conducted primarily through an adapted version of Hutchings' (2002) 'Mana Wahine Conceptual Framework'. Findings reveal that Māori resource utilisation agendas fit within wider development paradigms that are multi-dimensional, holistic and embedded in politico-cultural 'rights' and 'responsibilities', which position Māori as unique resource 'developers'. The Kaipara harbour also holds a high level of potential for the realisation of aquaculture aspirations, however a plethora of socio-cultural, economic and political barriers are inhibiting Māori development, particularly within the aquaculture sector. Six key strategic options are identified that aim at realistic and practical 'flax-root' pathways to improve Ngāti Whātua involvement in aquaculture.