Saturday, December 10, 2005

Kamo Kamo, Sockburn, Spring 2005



Half a dozen kamo kamo i've grown from seeded given to me by Mataroa Frew, committee member of Tahuri Whenua. They don't seem to be common around Canterbury gardens with some suggestion we are too far south. They're growing very well so far, and with a long hot summer predicted, I'm hopeful of a good first crop.

On the right are huakaroro, grown from tubers given by Uncles Jim and Pita of the Tahuri Whenua kaumatua group. These are my favourite although I still have tutaekuri in the shed, and some wild sown stuff that is actually cluttering up the celery. Scarlet runner beans grown from self sown seed can just be seen flowering in the background.
Kia ora koutou!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Te Ohu Whenua II, Massey University, September 8-9th, 2005

The following summaries are published in the second Tahuri Whenua newsletter

The second Te Ohu Whenua Conference was held recently at Massey University, following on from the inaugural conference in 2004. Balance Nutrients were again the Platinum sponsors, with HortResearch, the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, and Agricultural ITO, also contributing.

Highlights included a mini-workshop on sheep genetics by Hugh Blair. Hugh walked attendees through some of the modern concepts of breeding sheep (certainly a lot harder than even ol’ Cecil, the ram off Footrot Flats, made out!). Of course, the question was asked what effects these new and exciting techniques could have on issues close to Maori, such as wairua. Hugh neatly sidestepped the controversy by explaining he was a scientist, and the debate was a wider one of ethics in which the entire community should engage. Well, Hugh did ‘step out’ for, I think, the Manawatu rugby union back in the day, but we can be sure gene techniques – not all of these technologies involve ‘engineering’ - will not disappear, and they will certainly offer Maori farmers and growers greater options in the future.

Nick Roskruge spoke on ‘Nga Maara kai ki te Ao Hurihuri’, ‘Garden Foods of the Future’. Trends in fruit and vegetable consumption point to more emphasis on convenience and locally-sourced produce. Quality is increasingly important, particularly in such attributes as taste, smell and eating sensations. Discerning consumers are also willing to pay more for foods that are produced in a sustainable manner. The food industry admits that the consumer is ‘King’, although kings that are increasingly busy and ‘fussy’, demanding better taste, more health benefits, and convenience.

These demands will require growers to invest in training and education (for themselves and their workers), and in new technologies, especially in the areas of crop health, harvest and grading activities and crop prediction modelling. Maori continually hark back to the wisdom and courage of our tupuna. Let us acknowledge that they were quick to adopt innovations in growing and marketing produce from their lands.

Nick communicated two key objectives for Maori in horticulture. The first is the need to apply more than one discipline to our growing. Horticulture is a rapidly advancing industry, and the skills needed to be successful are various and demanding. The second objective is to ‘take ownership’ of our lands produce, ‘from paddock to plate’.

This theme was repeated by Peter Ensor, Executive Officer of the Approved Supplier Programme. The Programme originated as a pro-active move by New Zealand growers to address consumer concerns relating to food safety, the environment and quality assurance issues. Growers also sought an efficient, cost effective management and production system that removed the need for multiple auditors. They wanted ‘just the one auditor walking through the farm gate’.

Vegfed launched the Approved Supplier Programme in 1999, and were joined by the NZ Fruitgrowers Federation in 2000. A successful pilot in 2003 saw flower growers also seeking accreditation and adopting the Approved Supplier Programme as the standard for their industry. Details are available on: www.approvedsupplier.co.nz/

Last, but by no means least, Joe McLeod spoke of ‘Our Maori Cultural Culinary Cuisine’. Joe is a well-travelled chef who has ‘come on home’ to promote, develop and secure Maori cuisine for the the future. Joe contributes to a website:
www.genuinemaoricuisine.com/

Copies of the Conference Proceedings are available from: Centre for Professional Development and Conferences; Mail Code PN415; Massey University; Private Bag 11-222; Palmerston North, NZ.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Te Ohu Whenua


Another excellent Te Ohu Whenua conference at Massey. Many thanks to organisers, especially Nick Roskruge. Before I cut and paste a few summaries of what i thought were the key presentations, I'll post a pic of ears of Maori corn, the old varieties that came with Pakeha and have been cultivated for several generations among some whanau.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Emergent Maori Horticulture and Sustainable Development: A 'System of Provision' Analysis

Here's an abstract of a paper I'm presenting at the upcoming Maori and Indigenous Doctoral Conference, Onuku (27th-29th October).

The return of Maori land, the return of Maori to their land, and the return of Maori land to supplying a market economy, all occur in a context of innovations that are relevant to the sustainable development of this land. Sustainable development is fundamentally different from earlier forms of development in that mitigates environmental degradation and contributes to ecological resilience. This discourse is also cognisant of a sociological resilience that has expanded to incorporate aspects of cultural 'functioning'. Innovations will struggle against the forces of conservatism that interpret the continuation of traditional practices as integral to the 'proper' functioning of a culture.

But Maori have never excluded innovation from Post-contact strategic and tactical actions in promoting individual or group resilience. This practice has continued an accelerated with contemporary development from a realisation that sustainable development requires the successful adoption of innovative ideas, objects and activities. This can be described as contributing to Maori eco-cultural resilience, defined as Maori-specific development that links the management of ecosystems and social systems in ways that are specific to, and valued by, Maori. These systems incorporate actors that traverse networks that are global in extent. Sustainable Maori resource use is, therefore, reliant on the adoption of non-Maori innovations.

However, modern innovation involves the transfer of information and resources for political-economic ends that threaten the autonomy of participant eco-cultural institutions. Where these processes interpret 'culture' as merely an instrumental means to promote innovation, or as a component that enables product differentiation and added value, then that culture is threatened. This paper presents preliminary results of research that has examined the establishment of a new institution charged with protecting Maori cultural and ecological heritage while simultaneously engaging with non-Maori research, science and technology to supply niche markets leveraged of indigenous labeling. Within this 'System of Provision', Maori 'interrogate' innovations in an effort to embed a discourse of sustainability that is attuned to the needs of Maori eco-cultural resilience.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Maori potato, Solanum tuberosum var. urenika.



This variety has been grown in Aotearoa/New Zealand for 200 years, A South American vege arriving courtesy of European explorers, now labelled a 'Maori spud' and featuring in any number of promotional ventures. The name translates as 'Black penis'; the variety is called 'Tutaekuri' by others, which tranlsates as 'Dog Shit' (and one would hazard a guess that this is the more accurate description...).

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Indigenous Knowledges Conference: Reconciling Academic Priorities with Indigenous Realities

Below is a draft of the paper I presented at the recent Indigenous Knowledges Conference at the Pipitea Campus of Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. Always interesting to see the latest work from maori researchers, and catch up with an increasingly assured academic network. I was struck, however, by the preponderence of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) discourse - all eels and kai moana, maramatanga, rongoa and so on, which to an historical materialist wouold seem to be ignoring the actually biotic resources we utilise to survice as individuals and communities. As I've discussed in an earlier paper, Maori development is disproportionately reliant on introduced biota - Pinus radiata, trifolium spp., cows, sheep etc. We need to establish a discourse of Modern Ecological Knowledge, MEK! (giving us the T-shirt slogan: Tu meke te MEK...).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Technology Transfer and Indigenous Peoples: The Diffusion of Advanced Biotechnologies and Maori Horticulture

Abstract
The role of technology in any society is difficult to isolate. First, it is all pervasive: no society lacks technology (although some certainly lag in their attempts to acquire specific technologies). Secondly, it is constituted of tangible innovations – pots, metal implements, buildings, computers – and intangible knowledge – pottery, metallurgy, architecture, programming. Innovative technologies are indicators of ‘civilisation’. They are also integral to contemporary development, now promoted in terms of a ‘Knowledge Economy’.

The sheer pace and scale of technological change has meant that although technology is ‘intentionally and systematically’ put in place, it is now experienced as a somewhat ‘alien and uncanny force’ (Rapp 1981: 2). The very ‘success’ of certain technologies (revealed in their comprehensive diffusion) is implicated in threats to the sustainability of various communities and even humanity itself. How can sustainable technologies to be diffused in order to ‘avoid, remedy or mitigate’ adverse effects on the environment?

In this phenomenon, indigenous peoples are almost generically described as ‘laggards’, that is slow to adopt new technologies. While remaining the originators of (acceptably quaint) traditions, indigenous peoples are incessantly targeted as potential receptors of new and therefore beneficial technologies. In this paper I present data from a research project revolving around the innovation of sustainable biotechnologies to Maori horticulturalists. These technologies are distinguished from unsustainable technologies in a number of ways, not least the requirement that they be comprehensively diffused in order to ‘work’.

Inputting this data into a classical diffusion model reveals the phenomenon of ‘reverse cascade’ diffusion where innovation can be observed diffusing from Maori growers acting as case studies and/or collaborators. This flow contributes to the academic standing of a Centre of Research Excellence; ultimately it is to contribute to the Centre’s ‘financial independence’. Subsequent innovations will therefore be mediated by neo-liberal market forces, further hindering the vital diffusion of sustainability on to Maori land.

Keywords: technology transfer, diffusion of innovation, sustainable Maori horticulture, Maori bioprotection.

Introduction

This paper treats innovation as any idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new: it can also be the rediscovery of an idea, practice or object. Adoption is the singular decision - whether by an individual, institution, firm or other ‘adoptive unit’ - to take up an innovation. Diffusion is the process whereby the adoption of an innovation is transferred through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.

The technology has been identified as the very human activity of positing ends and procuring and utilizing the means to them (Heidegger, 1977). This description is echoed by Rogers (2003: 12) who considers technology to be the “…design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause-effect relationships involved in achieving a desired outcome” (Rogers 2003). Technology has been variously posited as the means to improve productivity and reduce uncertainty in economic development (Schumpeter 1928), as the cause of uncertainty in more broadly ascribed development goals, and as solution to these concerns.

Given the absolute importance of diffusion in the ultimate success of any technology, the lack of diffusion of sustainable technologies, where they exist, speaks of their failure regardless of their efficacy in isolation. This fact must be kept in mind during the following discussion.

The Diffusion of Innovations
The diffusion of innovations exhibit a number of empirical regularities (Brown and Cox 1971). Of these, one of the more commonly acknowledged is that such diffusion can be represented on a graph where an item’s diffusion can be expressed as a cumulative level of adoption whereby it will approximate an S-shaped curve. It seems to have been initially promoted by French sociologist Gabriel Trade (1903) who saw the task of the sociologist as tracing “…the curve of the successive increases, standstills or decreases in every new or old want and in every new or old idea, as it spreads out and consolidates itself, or as it is crushed back and uprooted”. History for Trade “…is a collection of those things that have had the greatest celebrity…those initiatives that have been the most imitated.” (cited in Katz, p 149).

The relationship of indigenous peoples to modern technology is commonly treated as a development problem - how to transfer appropriate technology to indigenous groups - or an ethical dilemma where indigenous culture is somehow threatened by new technology and yet cannot be wholly protected from its influence (Grim 2001; Stephenson 1994). In the words of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report (2003) “A common feature…of all successful economies is the degree to which innovation – in the widest possible sense – permeates everything people do.” This report goes on to say that Maori openness to innovation may be constrained due to the “…strange influence of traditions, culture and spiritual values.” The inference is that Maori are slow on the uptake and hinder the uptake of new technologies in general. The diffusion of innovative crop protection methods through the ‘social system’ that is Maori horticulture is critically evaluated in this paper.

The phenomena of innovation and diffusion have been described by James Blaut as being associated with core/periphery relationships that originate within European imperial strategies (Blaut 1993). Blaut notes that ‘cross-diffusion’ is also evident, by which he means that the ‘core’ (e.g., Britain) benefits from peripheral (e.g., New Zealand) innovations.

In this paper I examine the transfer of sustainability to Maori land by utilising the model of hierarchic diffusion. This occurs through a sequence of institutions and/or hierarchies. Such diffusion is generally assumed to be ‘downward’, for example from large to smaller cities and towns. However examples of ‘reverse cascade’ occur where innovations diffuse ‘upward’, from smaller to larger centres.

Case Study: The National Centre for Advanced Bioprotection Technologies
The data on which this paper is based has been gathered from within a network established for the innovation of agri-biotechnologies. The National Centre for Advanced Bioprotection Technologies (NCABT) won funding set aside for the establishment of Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) in the 2002 NZ government budget. This Lincoln-based CoRE is comprised of four themes: Biosecurity, Biocontrol, Agri-biotechnology and Matauranga Maori Bioprotection. This last theme is to be conducted in accordance with Kaupapa Maori and Participatory Action research principles (Environment Society and Design Division 2004; Harris 2003; The Royal Society of New Zealand 2003). The transfer of NCABT technologies - promoted as ‘sustainable’- is an explicit objective.

Recently the NCABT released its first commercial innovation (commercial innovations being an important goal of government-funded research of this type). The product is an organic fungicide (‘Sentinel’) designed to protect grapes from botrytis. It is marketed by Agrimm Technologies of Christchurch (Collins 2005).

The NCABT proposal was quite explicit as to where innovation was to originate with respect to Maori:

Research at the border between Maori science, matauranga Maori, traditional ecological knowledge and Western science will lead to innovation, the creation of new knowledge and a new paradigm – one that is better equipped to deal with many of the issues confronting agricultural and horticultural development in NZ.
(CoRE Fund Application Number 02-LIN-501, p. 22; emphasis in the original).

Innovations involving Theme 4/matauranga Maori Bioprotection in the first two years of operation of this CoRE are noted below. They are taken from publications, presentations, the CoRE website, and participant observation.
• Kaupapa Maori/Participatory research practices.
• Databases that will include archiving aspects of ‘matauranga Maori’ such as maramatanga and other Traditional Ecological Knowledges (TEKs) relevant to horticulture.
• Intellectual Property
• Novel foods (notably taewa or Maori potatoes)
• tertiary education (including ‘staircasing’ for Maori students and two doctoral scholarships).

Discussion
Maori are now returning to the proactive adoption/diffusion practices of the 19th century. In health (Durie 1998), education (Simon 1998; Walker 1996), and business (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research 2003), Maori as individuals and groups are seeking new ways of doing things. A willingness to embrace innovation in horticulture is also evident (Lambert 2004; Roskruge 2004). Historical precedents exist for this adoption of agricultural and horticultural innovations that involved interacting with government and private institutions and individuals. This ubiquitous development strategy now involves increasing collaboration with new research institutions, such as the CoREs and their strategic positioning of matauranga Maori themes.

An examination of the operation of the NCABT from the perspective of innovation reveals Maori – as individuals and groups – are actually the source of a number of important innovations. This includes criteria to satisfy the controversial requirement for ‘responsiveness to Maori’ in the government research funds (see Benfell 2003; The Royal Society of New Zealand 2003).

Conclusions
Approaches to Maori in the context of ‘partnership’ and ‘responsiveness’ have positioned Maori as collaborators and participants in a manner quite distinct from historically racist research programmes which sought to study indigenous peoples as passive subjects. Maori will originate as well as adopt innovations. However where funding and research priorities are to commercialise the resulting technologies – especially those designed with sustainable development of land-based industries as a goal – they are ultimately placed on the global market for such technological innovations. This method of diffusion has never been easy for indigenous peoples to access. Where such technologies are supposed to enable sustainable production on Maori land, the risk must be that diffusion is delayed, consigning Maori land-based production to extended unsustainable production.


References
Benfell, Peter. 2003. "Maori factors minor in R&D funding criteria." Pp. A7 in The Press. Christchurch.
Blaut, James. 1993. The Colonizers Model of the World; Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History. New York and London: The Guildford Press.
Brown, Lawrence and Kevin R. Cox. 1971. "Empirical Regularities in the Diffusion of Innovation." Annals of the Association of American Geographers 61:551-559.
Collins, Ian. 2005. "Quick commercial response to University research." vol. 2005. Christchurch: Lincoln University.
Durie, Mason. 1998. Whaiora: Maori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press.
Environment Society and Design Division 2004. "Maori values infuse agriculture project." Environment, Society and Design Division Research Profile, pp. 12-13.
Grim, John A. 2001. "Indigenous Traditions and Ecology." Pp. 754. Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press.
Harris, Nigel. 2003. "Team presentation." edited by T. F. colleagues. Christchurch.
Lambert, Simon. 2004. "Indigenous Research Ethics and Agro-ecological Development: Raising the IRE in Biotechnology Transfer." Te Papa, Wellington.
New Zealand Institute of Economic Research. 2003. "Maori Economic Development/Te Ohanga Whaneketanga Maori." Te Puni Kokiri, Wellington.
Rapp, F. 1981. Analytical Philosophy of Technology, vol. 63, Edited by R. S. Cohen and M. W. Wartofsky. Translated by S. R. Carpenter and T. Langenbruch. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company.
Rogers, Everett M. 2003. Diffusion of Innovations. New York: The Free Press.
Roskruge, N. 2004. "Snapshot of Maori Horticulture." in Te Ohu Whenua. Massey University.
Schumpeter, Joseph Alois. 1928. "The instability of capitalism." The Economic Journal 38:361-368.
Simon, Judith A. 1998. "Anthropology, 'native schooling' and Maori: the politics of cultural adaption' policies." Oceania 69.
Stephenson, Rebecca A. 1994. "'Traditional Technologies' Structures and Cultures of the Pacific: Five Papers from the Symposium "Technology and Cultural Change in the Pacific"." Pp. 87 in Technology and Cultural Change in the Pacific XVII Pacific Science Congress, edited by R. A. Stephenson. Honolulu: University of Guam/Micronesian Area Research Centre.
The Royal Society of New Zealand. 2003. "Selection Criteria for Centres of Research Excellence." vol. 2004.
Walker, Ranginui. 1996. "Education and Power." Pp. 161-169 in Nga Pepa a Ranginui: The Walker Papers. Auckland: Penguin.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I'm free, I'm free, thank dog I'm free!

This blog is now legal, or rather I no longer break the regulations of the National Centre for Advanced Bioprotection Technologies, as I am no longer a CoRE member...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Fixing our Frogs...the process of elimination

Remember when they moved the wee endangered frogs down here to Canterbury? Well seems it ain't the fungus they original thought was responsible. A friend of mine, Mataroa Frew, first mentioned these tiny frogs (that's tiny as in little, not tinny as in C sativa...), she's from Waikato, one of only two places in the entire universe these fellas and fellesas live (okay, there's my alma mater's zoology department). On the department website there is a list of press releases and so on (little panicky about the PBRF aren't we?).

But seriously, how dangerous are these chemicals to things we hold dear (of course I have no evidence that 'We the People' hold these animals dear). This will undoubtedly get some coverage in the NZ press over the next week, which I'll duly post 'cos I like the wee frogs, despite having never laid eyes on one. Be nice to have the option...

Sunday, May 01, 2005

South Island Maori and Biotechnology

Here's a couple of links to a report Dr. Mere Roberts completed a few months ago: pdf. It's co-authored by Ass. Professor John Fairweather, my primary doctoral supervisor. I acted (yes, a little Latourian pun) as a research assistant for part of her tour (coordinating, sorry, 'coordinating' some of her Christchurch contacts and yes it was um interesting...) More of all that later.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Pesticide reduction progress

Results continue to accumulate for pesticide reduction from GM crops. Here's some stuff from China that shows a dramatic reduction in usage and negative health effects (okay, begging the question how bad is it for famrers outside of this biotech loop).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Geographical indicators

I wrote a paper for last years Te Ohu Whenua conference, 'The Place of Place', that needs updating.

(A Geographical Indicators are place names (in some countries also words associated with a place) used to identify the origin and quality, reputation or other characteristics of products. “Champagne”, “Tequila” or “Roquefort” (the cheese) are classic examples.)

I missed the fact that NZ submitted a joint report on TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property...no the acronym doesn't add up as it were). Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, and the United States were the other countries. Here's a link through to a table (scroll down a tad) where the report (TN/IP/W/9)can be downloaded as a 56kb word document.

Don't forget that Aotearoa/New Zealand has a Geographical Indicators Act, written in 1996, but inactive until we comply with this, ie WTO, regulation.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Technology Transfer: The Diffusion of Advanced Biotechnologies and Maori Horticulture

Okay, here's draft number three - the link is through to the conference site. I've scored free registration: as the rangatahi say, 'Big Ups' to the organisers. Formatting is lost, and so are the nifty diagrams.

Abstract
The role of technology in any society is difficult to isolate. First, it is all pervasive: no society lacks technology (although some certainly lag in their attempts to acquire specific technologies). Secondly, it is constituted of tangible innovations – pots, metal implements, buildings – and intangible knowledge – pottery, metallurgy, architecture. Innovative technologies are indicators of ‘civilisation’. They are also integral to contemporary development, now promoted in terms of a ‘Knowledge Economy’.

The sheer pace and scale of technological change has meant that although technology is ‘intentionally and systematically’ put in place, it is now experienced as a somewhat ‘alien and uncanny force’ (Rapp 1981). The very ‘success’ of certain technologies (revealed in their comprehensive diffusion) is implicated in threats to the sustainability of various communities and even humanity itself. How can sustainable technologies to be diffused in order to ‘avoid, remedy or mitigate’ adverse effects on the environment?

In this phenomenon, indigenous peoples are almost generically described as 'laggards': that is slow to adopt new technologies. While remaining the originators of (acceptably quaint) traditions, indigenous peoples are incessantly targeted as potential receptors of new and therefore beneficial technologies. In this paper I present data from a research project revolving around the innovation of sustainable biotechnologies to Maori horticulturalists. These technologies are distinguished from unsustainable technologies in a number of ways, not least the requirement that they be comprehensively diffused in order to ‘work’.

Inputting this data into a classical diffusion model reveals the phenomenon of ‘reverse cascade’ diffusion where the initial sources of innovation are Maori acting as case studies and/or collaborators. The flow of subsequent innovations appears to be mediated by neo-liberal markets, hindering the vital diffusion of sustainability on to Maori land.

Keywords: technology transfer, diffusion of innovation, sustainable Maori development.

Introduction
This paper treats innovation as any idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new: it can also be the rediscovery of an idea, practice or object. Adoption is the singular decision - whether by an individual, institution, firm or other ‘adoptive unit’ - to take up an innovation. Diffusion is the process whereby the adoption of an innovation is transferred through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.

Given the absolute importance of diffusion in the ultimate success of any technology, the lack of diffusion of sustainable technologies, where they exist, speaks of their failure regardless of their efficacy in isolation. This fact must be kept in mind during the following discussion.

The term ‘technology’ itself is difficult to define. Heidegger (1977) begins his thesis on modern technology with accepting it as a means to an end and a human activity: “…to posit ends and procure and utilize the means to them is a human activity (p 4). He goes on to say that “The manufacture and utilization of equipment, tools and machines, the [artefacts] themselves and the needs and ends they serve all belong to what technology is (p 4-5). This description is echoed by Rogers (2003: 12) who considers technology to be the “…design for instrumental action that reduces the uncertainty in the cause-effect relationships involved in achieving a desired outcome” (Rogers 2003). For Maori growers it will include all the strategies and tactics employed to reduce the vulnerability of their crops.

The Diffusion of Innovations: Models and MethodsThe S-curve is commonly to describe diffusion (Fig 1). It seems to have been initially promoted by French sociologist Gabriel Trade (1903) who saw the task of the sociologist as tracing “…the curve of the successive increases, standstills or decreases in every new or old want and in every new or old idea, as it spreads out and consolidates itself, or as it is crushed back and uprooted”. History for Trade “…is a collection of those things that have had the greatest celebrity…those initiatives that have been the most imitated.” (cited in Katz, p 149).
The early exploratory works of Gabriel Tarde and others were revolutionised by Torsten Hägerstrand, a Swedish geographer who attempted to model the spatial characteristics of adoption and diffusion with new (to geography) quantitative techniques (Hagerstrand 1952; Hagerstrand 1967). He utilised the analogy of a wave (adoption and diffusion) spreading across a pond (society) after a pebble (innovation) had been thrown in. In this model, the timing of adoption is a function of a person’s distance from the first innovator.

Many researchers have focused on information as the key variable (Rogers and Shoemaker, 1971; Rogers, 1983). For Hägerstrand, communication is the key mechanism in diffusion; the spatial pattern was the result of a ‘contagious’ process, which he called the ‘neighbourhood effect’. Tarde had also acknowledged the importance of simple (but not simplistic) communication.


Hierarchy Model and Gravity Theory

In this paper I examine the transfer of sustainability to Maori land by utilising the model of hierarchic diffusion. This occurs “…through a regular sequence of order, classes, or hierarchies” (Haggett: 299). Such diffusion is generally assumed to be ‘downward’, for example from large to smaller cities and towns. However, examples of a ‘reverse cascade’ occur where innovations diffuse ‘upward’, from smaller to larger centres. Figure 2 below represents these phenomena in a simple schema. The term gravity theory is also used to describe hierarchic diffusion (inviting the term ‘anti-gravity’ for ‘reverse cascade’).

The relationship of indigenous peoples to modern technology is commonly treated as a development problem - how to transfer appropriate technology to indigenous groups - or an ethical dilemma where indigenous culture is somehow threatened by new technology and yet cannot be wholly protected from its influence (Stephenson 1994; Grim 2001). In the words of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report (2003) “A common feature…of all successful economies is the degree to which innovation – in the widest possible sense – permeates everything people do.” This report goes on to say that Maori openness to innovation may be constrained due to the “…strange influence of traditions, culture and spiritual values.” The inference is that Maori are slow on the uptake.

The diffusion of innovative crop protection methods through the ‘social system’ that is Maori horticulture is critically evaluated in this paper so as to map the pathways by which sustainable crop protection might be achieved. Obstacles to this diffusion are identified and remedies offered.

Case Study: The National Centre for Advanced Bioprotection TechnologiesThe data on which this paper is based has been gathered from within a network established for the innovation of agri-biotechnologies. The National Centre for Advanced Bioprotection Technologies (NCABT) won funding set aside for the establishment of Centre’s of Research Excellence (CoREs) in the 2002 budget. This Lincoln-based CoRE is comprised of four themes: Biosecurity, Biocontrol, Agri-biotechnology and Matauranga Maori Bioprotection. This last theme is to be conducted in accordance with Kaupapa Maori and Participatory research principles (Zealand; Harris 2003; Environment 2004). The transfer of NCABT technologies - promoted as ‘sustainable’- is an explicit objective.

The process of diffusing sustainable technologies to Maori horticulture is modelled below. This hierarchy will be further described with respect to type of innovation, its source and direction of diffusion.


Case Studies
TBA (okay, that's a cop out... I'm still writing the paper, like everyone else)




Analysis
Hägerstrandian diffusion sees the motive power of diffusion reside within the spread of information: other cultural variables are interpreted as obstacles. This assumption was not overtly challenged by his fieldwork in rural Sweden, which as Blaut (1977) points out is a culturally uniform space whose pool of potential adopters were in possession of the necessary technical and economic prerequisites for adoption of a set of innovations of demonstrable utility. ‘Information’ was, in these circumstances, quite reasonably the ‘missing element’, the arrival of which would initiate the adoption/diffusion process.


Conclusions
Maori are now returning to the proactive adoption/diffusion practices of the 19th century. In health (Durie, ; ), education ( ), and business (TPK, 2002; NZIER, 2003), Maori individuals and groups are seeking new ways of doing things. A willingness to embrace innovation in horticulture is also evident (Lambert 2004; Roskruge 2004). This involves interacting with ‘traditional’ actors, that is government and its agencies and private corporations. It also involves increasing interactions with new research institutions such as CoREs, and their strategic positioning of matauranga Maori themes.

The promotion of information as a key variable elevates knowledge as the primary causal element in development. However, there are quite clear transfers of innovation, as represented by specifically Maori ides, symbols, terminology and so on, and professional affiliation across disciplines, institutions and projects. This flow is also dynamic,


References
Environment, S. a. D. D. (2004). Maori values infuse agriculture project. Environment, Society and Design Division Research Profile: 12-13.
Grim, J. A., Ed. (2001). Indigenous Traditions and Ecology. Cambridge, Ma., Harvard University Press.
Hagerstrand, T. (1952). "The propogation of innovation waves." Lund Studies in Geography B: 4.
Hagerstrand, T. (1967). Innovation Diffusion as a Spatial Process. Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press.
Harris, N. (2003). Team presentation. T. F. colleagues. Chirstchurch.
Lambert, S. (2004). Indigenous Research Ethics and Agro-ecological Development: Raising the IRE in Biotechnology Transfer, Te Papa, Wellington.
Rapp, F. (1981). Analytical Philosophy of Technology. Dordrecht, D. Reidel Publishing Company.
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of Innovations. New York, The Free Press.
Roskruge, N. (2004). Snapshot of Maori Horticulture. Te Ohu Whenua, Massey University.
Stephenson, R. A. (1994). 'Traditional Technologies' Structures and Cultures of the Pacific: Five Papers from the Symposium "Technology and Cultural Change in the Pacific". Technology and Cultural Change in the Pacific XVII Pacific Science Congress, Honolulu, University of Guam/Micronesian Area Research Centre.
Zealand, R. S. o. N. Selection Criteria for Centres of Research Excellence. 2004.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Indigenous Knowledges Conference

I've submitted the following abstract to this conference. One of my advisors, Dr. Jay Johnson at Canterbury University is also attending. I'm hoping to see some of the other usual suspects, and hoping the big one lays off a bit longer...

Anyway, here's what I'm talking on:

Technology Transfer: The Diffusion of Advanced Biotechnologies to Maori Horticulture

Abstract
The role of technology in any society is difficult to isolate. First, it is all pervasive: no society lacks technology (although some certainly lag in their attempts to acquire specific technologies). Secondly, it is constituted of tangible innovations - pots, metal tools, buildings - and intangible knowledge - pottery, metallurgy, architecture. innovative technolgies are indicators of 'civilisation'. They are also integral to contemporary development, now promoted in terms of a 'Knowledge Economy'.

The sheer pace and scale of modern technological change has meant that althouggh technology is intentionally and systematically put in place, it is now experienced as a somewhat 'alien and uncanny force' (Rapp, 1981). The very 'success' of certain technologies (revealed in their comprehensive diffusion) is implicated in threats to the sustainability of various communities and even humanity itself. In this context, how can sustainable technologies be diffused in order to 'avoid, remedy or mitigate' adverse effects on the environment?

In this phenomenon, indigenous peoples are almost generically described as 'laggards', that is slow to adopt new technologies. While remaining the originators of (acceptably quaint) traditions, indigenous peoples are targeted as potential receptors of new and supposedly beneficial technologies. In my paper I present data from a research project revolving around the innovation of sustainable biotechnologies to Maori horticulturalists. These technologies are distinguished from unsustainable technologies in a number of ways, not least the requirement that they be comprehensively diffused in order to 'work'.

Inputting this data into classical diffusion models reveals 'reverse cascade' diffusion in which the initial innovations are sourced from Maori discourse, and from Maori individuals acting as case studies and/or collaborators. The flow of subsequent innovations appears to be mediated neo-liberal market structures, further hindering the vital diffusion of sustainability on to Maori land.

...I'm four fifths through writing the bastard up and will post it in draft form sometime on the 'morrow...

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Indigenous People and the paradox of sustainability...

That I no longer wake screaming is a by-product of the abattoir that is corporate research. Call it corporate fatigue. Preliminary analysis leads me to believe that the exclusion of Maori land-owners from development such as conventional agriculutre, recently reframed as a positive thing in allowing a quicker return to production via organic growing, may have consigned many land-owners to continued laggard status in the adoption of specifically sustainable biotechnologies. This is a possible consequence of being marginal particpants in the infrastructure that supports contemporary agri-food systems. Here in Aotearoa/New Zealand we powered into a 'Neoliberal Reformation' the likes of which Reagan and Thatcher could not dream in their most fevered moments (perhaps Pinochet mused upon it once or twice, unable to forsee that level of power...). As a result, the rather good research and development we did is overly reliant on so-called private (not true, they're everywhere...) enterprise to disseminate.

This they do in the name of profit. That's the law.

Unfortunately, the much promised profit from sustainable horticulture (remember the organic premium everyone was supposed to get?) will obviously decrease as more and more produce is supplied under those criteria enforceably deemed Environmental Sound.

So be it.

But let us not forget that Sustainable Development discourse arose as a critque of the profit motive that was stripping our descendents resources in a manner we could no longer observe without contempt for ourselves.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Back on the block...

Venting spleen is an obligatory part of PhD candidacy it seems. Anyway, apologies for those who have visited this site lately for dispassionate information professionally presented. I didn't have it in me...the rest is sub judice (further confirming my early conclusions that Kaupapa Maori and Participatory Action Research are both anathema to modern corporate research as personified (well, corporations are people too) by the CoRE.

So here's some info. Two Summer Scholarship students - Moana Boyd and Chuckie van Schravendijk - did present at the CoRE Conference held at Lincoln campus. Chuckie (one of my MAST 319 students in 2004) spoke on a wide range of historical features of Maori horticulture. Most interesting, she and Huia Pacey (a Master's student here at Lincoln) have begun piecing together the story of a trek undertaken by HD Skinner along the Mokau River some time ago. Skinner noted the regular appearance of potato in the menu (like all clever Imperialists, he used the brothers to lug his luggage), fetched from plots hidden along the trail.

Moana outlined the institutional framework in which Maori horticulture operates. This work has some implications for my own research, although I have a broader conception of what constitutes an institute. I hope to post more details of their work but may be restricted to summarising their powerpoint demo's (I'm assuming they are likewise required to clear communications with the Mugwump or Das Rottweiler).

Some interesting stuff that purports to debunk the Sacred Saint of Organic Crop Protection, namely Rachel Carson, has recently been published on the wire. I haven't tracked the original references but it's interesting stuff, agreed? Of course, the importance of minimising pesticide use remains. My research is indicating that sustainability for Maori horticulture originates in the nemesis of sustainability, ie profit. If Maori growers cannot sustain the business side (the Bottom Line), then the other two lines (social and environmental) are largely irrelevant. Hence the importance of our one irreducible angle: niche marketing on the basis of our ethnicity which can't help but play on racist, essentialist arguments...Rousseau's Noble Savage, tinged green by ecocentric (mis)interpretations of indigenous peoples. (Check out this interesting review on a book by now retired Kiwi anthropologist,Roger Sandall's 'The Culture Cult', published 2001). Well, that's me for now. Congrats to Kelly Barnes for handing in; me and Vern Pere will shout beers next time we all meet! Ka kite!!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Agent Orange documents released...

Our Minister of Defense has released historical documents relating to the (mooted) production and export of Agent Organe to Vietnam for use in the jungle-stripping campaign. Undoubtedly they clear the government of all wrong-doing (or why release them?!) No links are provided through the NZ Herald article so I'm in the process of trying to access them through government sources. Will keep it posted of course...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What would we know, we only live here...

Attempts to devolve control of local environments to the people who breathe the air and drink the water in the locality continue to trip on assumptions and assertions of superior knowledge. Dig this from Corporate Lap Dog Number 27...

"Local communities generally do not have the expertise on issues about pesticides to make responsible decisions," said Allen James, president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a pesticide-industry lobbying group.

(article in full here)

There's been no more from NZ councils and regional authorities on the little matter of pesticide remnants under our backyards. I posted a wee spiel about this earlier. Personally, I'm more concerned about large trucks careening around my 'hood (as I've posted before, me and my whanau live in an industrial zone. I'm told it's better than the suburbs...).

Will soon be at the New Zealand University Students Association conference in Wellington. I'm this years Post Graduate Officer at Lincoln University. Big conf this year, election year, so we are to be lobbied, I presume, although not wined and dined in the true tradition. That, my poppets, will have to wait for graduation...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ye olde adoption/diffussion lag...

Of course we still use chemicals banned by our Big Market Brothers. Our place on the classic S-shaped curve (first posited by Gabriel Tarde) for adopting sustainable technologies would be somewhere between late majority and pissant laggards. These things take time - that's a given. However, there is certainly a need to put in place a culture of skepticism towards supporters and distributors of toxic substances (see below on Dow Chemicals) and begin locating and safely disposing of this stuff.

As I'm arguing in my thesis, these artefacts of the crop protection industry can be observed as if they have agency: their presence - even in theory only - provokes predictable reactions from other actors in the network. I use Actor-Network Theory to help frame this thesis, although Kaupapa Maori principles seem to enable the same perspective, perhaps more so as it is a stated intention of our research to empower Maori growers in sustainable horticulture.

On a tangent to this, in 2002 I opposed a resource consent for Turners and Growers to treat fruit and vege in our heighbourhood (okay, we live on the edge of an industrial zone; 'twas all we could afford). They had emitted toxic fumes illegally, in central Christchurch, for seven years (this came out in the hearing). But hey, they'd learnt their lesson (remind me what that was...). Toxicology data for methyl bromide came from the US EPA research (perhaps that should be 'research'...). And later I hear that methyl bromide is to be banned in Stateside!

oh well, as the old people say, 'a te wa' (in time...)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tea Tree Oil and Agent Orange...don't laugh

More info is coming out regarding NZ's role in manufacturing and distributing Agent Orange, a bloody nasty defoliant in a bloody nasty war. It begs the same questions that I raised earlier on pesticides: we have the technology to trace these things to parts per billion, but we don't. In the case of Agent Orange, it seems the records have not been kept that would decide either way, or at least not at our end...

Concerns have also surfaced over the pretty-smelling soaps we wash our bums with. Tea Tree Oil - yet another elixar for the middle-class -
has not proven itself safe. This is, it should be noted, not the same concoction that NZ manufactures, and sells, at a premium (these things only come at a premium).

These examples lend themsleves to Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Let's observe the role that, say, molecules of 2,4,5T have in the network that connects Dow Chemicals in Paritutu, New Plymouth, to Subic Bay, Vietnam, which - as I've posted - includes LINZ reports for the NZ real estate market and inheritable genetic damage to Vietnam vets. For Maori we have to acknowledge our war history which extends from colonisation itself to sincere Peace Operations and covert or 'black' ops in Afghanistan (anyone remember Afghanistan...) We've always fought for the Man (mea culpa: my PhD thesis is an output of a corporate research project).

Of course, given our right and propensity for 'Nested Identities', Pakeha et al. can be forgiven for finding it all rather draining...attempts at colonisation are like that (ask the Vietnamese). But by identifying precisely where best to locate research interests we can see who holds the reins. And the main message is how to make money. Of course. We tried our hand at overthrowing capitalism once before and it didn't work out so good.

A political-economic analysis of Maori horticulture needs to be biopolitical, in the beret-wearing attitude, i.e. to the Nth degree. By that I mean everything from genotypes to pretty pictures. Elizabeth Rata has started pushing out some strong attitude on this, evidently stemming from a whanau insider possie (but not quite. Her point is that it still racist in the vein of the Essentialists discourse on blood quantum). Lets follow the genes so as to follow the money!

We live in interesting times...

Simon Lambert

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