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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 89-106

Settling Indigenous Claims to Protected Areas: Weighing Māori Aspirations Against Australian Experiences

1 Landcare Research, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand
2 CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Phil O'B. Lyver
Landcare Research, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.132134

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Efforts to resolve indigenous peoples' grievances about the negative impacts of protected areas established on their customary estates by governments are driving the development of shared governance and management. The Tϋhoe people have sought that the settlement of their grievances against the New Zealand government include unencumbered rights to manage Te Urewera, guided by scientific and traditional knowledge and practices, for conservation and social benefits for the Tϋhoe people and the broader public. We led a study tour to allow Tϋhoe and other Mβori representatives to gain first-hand experience of long-standing jointly managed protected areas in Australia that the New Zealand government had drawn on in proposing mechanisms to resolve the Tϋhoe claim. We found that these areas were a poor fit to the study tour participants' aspirations that indigenous world views would underpin governance and that indigenous people would be empowered. Our findings highlight that settlement must be transformational in terms of attitudes and relationships. Collaborative problem-solving processes that build trust can contribute. In areas like Te Urewera, where tenure boundaries fragment a landscape that is a coherent whole in indigenous world views, settlement processes can offer the prospect of landscape-scale outcomes for social justice and conservation.

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