Sunday, July 31, 2011

Māori Resilience through the Otautahi 'quakes: the role and future prospects of economic, cultural and environmental networks

Lincoln University's research in the effects of the recent (and perhaps ongoing) earthquakes in Otautahi/ Christchurch is funded and underway!

Outline
The scale of damage from the recent earthquakes in Ōtautahi challenges all networks in the city at a time when many individuals and communities are under severe economic pressure. Māori have historically drawn on traditional institutions such as whānau, marae, hapū, and iwi for resilience. What has worked and what has failed are fundamental questions as other communities (Māori and non-Māori) will likely suffer similarly disastrous events in the future.

Aim
To describe the role of Maori-centric networks in supporting Maori and non-Maori in the aftermath of the recent and ongoing earthquakes.

The researchers
A flood of research will undoubtedly follow the earthquakes, most of which will undoubtedly relate to engineering, geology, and seismology. Lincoln University has a unique confluence of research allied to two of Lincoln's three Kaupapa Māori Units (Te Whanake in Environment, Society, & Design; Te Matapuna in Agriculture & Life Sciences) that enables a trans-disciplinary approach incorporating economic geography, community development, geology and eco-toxicology. Four individual Maori researchers are engaged in some way on the project. They are:

• Dr. Simon Lambert (Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani), economic geography, planning and development.
• Melanie Shadbolt (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa) community development, sociology.
• Dr. Jamie Ataria (Rongomaiwahine), eco-toxicology.
• Dr. Amanda Black (Tūhoe), geology.


The approach
A broad approach is needed to account for how people have been affected by the earthquakes, and how and why they respond as they do. The project will draw on the team's respective skills to gather and interpret both qualitative data (narrating the personal, professional, and institutional experiences of key actors in responding to the earthquakes) and quantitative data (describing the geo/eco contexts of affected Māori communities). Three disciplines provide the intellectual foundations of this project: economic geography (Dr. Lambert) and community development (Melanie Shadbolt); and two dimensions of environmental hazards: geological (Dr. Black) and eco-toxicological (Dr. Ataria).

More explicitly, we will:
1. Investigate the economic and cultural resilience of Maori communities;
2. Review disaster response and recovery information disseminated to Māori, including those from local authorities, government, emergency services, the police and army;
3. Review scientific reports on the geological and eco-toxicological dimensions of how the earthquakes affected Māori communities.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Christchurch Maori and the Earthquakes: Mahi Rangahau i te Ru Whenua, kei Otautahi

Kia ora koutou,
Just a post to express how excited I am to be beginning research into Maori economic resilience following the recent earthquakes in Otautahi. I'm lucky to be one of a team of emerging researchers, like butterflies, stretching out from the chrysalis of love...

Anyways, this is just the first of what I intend to be a long line of posts on this research. We will get a more formal webpage through Lincoln University in a week or two on which we can post our results and panui communities about upcoming presentations and publications. Our kaupapa is to build ever greater Maori resilience. Our particular focus will revolve around two separate but connected dimensions: the cultural and the economic.

We will also be announcing Summer Scholarships for Lincoln students, and are willing to collaborate with other like-minded researchers.

One caveat we must announce. This is an academic research project. We absolutely must stand in the global marae for peer review by those whose disciplines we choose to dwell, at least for our professional development. The resilience we therefore bring to our own whanau provides the foundation on which we can contribute to the resilience of other whanau: Maori, Pakeha and tauiwi.

Falling masonry doesn't pick its victims based on whakapapa.

It will be interesting to see which groups or communities are/were more vulnerable. Certainly international students were disproportionately represented...

And while Lincoln hasn't emerged unscathed, check out my earlier post, we are certainly better off than our poor city cousins, Canterbury.

I loved that library, was a student at UC when they ('they') purchased their one millionth book for the James Hight library. We have about 900 books, too many but I also gave away too many, sold too many, and lost too many. Can't recall what it was, a poncy Old English manuscript if I remember rightly.

Typical.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Toasting marshmellows, Taumutu

While the world continues to oscillate between valid fear, invalid fear, common joy and crazed euphoria, I can still take the boys and three of their friends to a beach, light a fire, burn some snags and melt some marshmellows.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ko Aotearoa Tenei: WAI 262 preamble...

Love the intro which begins with ...'Aue e te mate, kei hea tau wero, aue e te reinga kei hea tou wikitoria?' which is translated as ...'Oh death where is thy sting; grave, where is your victory', nice allusion to both Corinthians 15:55 and a sonnet by Shakespeare.

Then follows a parade of faces, many having shuffled off this mortal coil.

The report then gives a potted history of Kupe's People, then Cook's People - sailors one and all (useful 101, even 201, histories). Then a number of quite revisionist statements:
" Maori culture locates us in the Pacific and gives us our deep roots here. Pakeha culture locates us at the same time in the West and gives us our right to the West's heritage."

Then quickly comes the following: "Bicultural fusion gives our vibrant multicultural reality a solid core with enough gravity to pull immigrant cultures into orbit around its vision, values, and expectations. A nation cannot sustain itself without that solid core" (p.16).

Of course WAI 262 was never a standard claim, if indeed its possible to speak of such a thing. It is acknowledged that the claim always asked 'novel questions' about who owns or controls
1. matauranga Maori;
2. the tangible outputs of matauranga Maori;
3. 'things that are important contributors to matauranga Maori, namely
i) taonga species
ii) and the natural environment of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

I see these as posing ontological, epistemological, and empirical challenges, respectively, to Maori and Pakeha; What can be known; how do we know and use this knowledge; and what does this knowledge result in, how is it manifested in our lifeworlds?



Scorched earth policy...

The ashes around the old man Tane Mahuta getting more e-play. So old (at 2,500 years) he now has the scattering of people's ashes, let alone the gentle rotting bodies of his close whanaunga.

LandCare, fronting the science, as I said below, et cetera et cetera.

Collaboration with Maori should be easier, given the current (party) political climate. But this is trumped by old skool political-economic numbers: yunno its tough when PAKEHA are broke!

Meanwhile the big block @ Te Whare Wananga o Aorangi - Forbes - is wrapped in white plastic. I'm on the third floor, or as we like to say, the pancake palace (the lower floors always squish, right?).



Like some Swiss-French art installation, or an island wrapped in cloth.



On the subject of trees, a beautiful portfolio by Cedric Pollet.



Positive I-ration.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tane Mahuta and the scattering of ashes

An interesting news item on concerns for Tane Mahuta. But TVNZ can't half twist a story! Essentially two separate issues - the scattering of cremated remains and the spread of Kauri Dieback disease - are combined yet the complexities are barely outlined. On the one hand, kaumatua are concerned that people are risking a cultural despoilment of Tane Mahuta by the remains of their loved ones being dropped on a wahi tapu, a sacred site. And LandCare scientists are worried about the ongoing effects of Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA) which has been connected to yellowing foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning and dead branches. Affected Kauri can bleed resin through lesions. This can extend to roots and even girdle the trunk as ‘collar rot', killing trees of all ages.


Bleeding resin.

But where and how exactly are faith and reason joining forces in this debate, given there are two different issues? The kaumatua has quite different concerns than the scientist, although both can, Lorax like, speak for the trees! The disease itself was identified in April, 2008. Its closest relative is a chestnut pathogen from Korea (Phytophthora katsurae). The assumption is that PTA is an introduced pathogen but nothing is known about this particular species overseas.

The concern for mana whenua, the people who whakapapa to the area, is that their sacred sites are being trampled on by ignorant (albeit grieving) people who are perhaps following the wishes of their loved departed ones. TVNZ seems incapable of examining what is a complex and difficult subject in anyway that credits either faith or reason.




Warning sign...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

WAI 262 (finally) released...

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the dark... I suppose it was a matter of time, and I'm wrapped as it gives MAST 603, one of the paper I'm teaching at Lincoln University this year) a fascinating focus. (Just catching the mocking, sneering tone of two Pakeha commentators on t.v.; Fran O'Sullivan just used the term 'brown-mail'. Oh well. I'll 'get over it', when they get hard, get real, and get honest!).

Trouble is, damn thing is so big, and I'm so old school I need hard copy so I can scrawl and circle and throw around ?'s and !'s. We're gonna be a long time digesting this. At first cut it does seem so bloody conciliatory!

Hmmmm, some concerns starting to come through, mars 2 earth

And a pity that Murray Parsons passed away before its release. I've tried to find some web records of the first hui (held in 1988 at Rehua) but have only found an old, 1990, NZ Botanical Society newsletter that refers to it...


Murray Parsons. Botanist, Ngati Kahungunu (ki Wairarapa). Died 10 May 2011, aged just 69.

But the report itself starts with a remarkably positive statement from the Minister of Maori Affairs, expaling the reports name, Ko tenei Aotearoa' can mean "‘This is Aotearoa’ or ‘This is New Zealand’, or both. The ambiguity is intentional: a reminder, if one is needed, that Aotearoa and New Zealand must be able to co-exist in the same space."

Nice.

And then: "New Zealand sits poised at a crossroads both in race relations and on our long quest for a mature sense of national identity. These issues are not just important in themselves; they impact on wider questions of economic growth and social cohesion. We are propelled here by many factors: the enormous progress that has been made toward the settlement of historical Treaty claims and the resulting reincarnation of tribes as serious players in our economic, political, social, and cultural fabric; continuing growth in the Māori population and the seemingly intractable social and economic disparity between that community and the rest of New Zealand; the Māori cultural ‘renaissance’ and the rise of Māori creativity in the arts, music, and literature contrasted with ongoing cultural loss; and the extraordinary increase in wider cultural diversity in New Zealand through immigration over the last 30 years."

And then, stretching the standard metaphor for such things (kia ora Ropata Johnson: "A crossroads in history offers choices. The Wai 262 claimants really asked which of the many possible paths into the future New Zealand should now choose, and in this report we provide an answer based on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi."


Just an overview then, clipped from the Waitangi website:
Chapter 1 looks at Māori arts and crafts, the works accumulated by our weavers, carvers, writers, musicians, artists, and others, framed by New Zealand’s intellectual property law, particularly copyright and trade marks.

Chapter 2 looks at the genetic and biological resources of 'flora and fauna' - the original moniker of this claim - which Māori have evolved intimate and long-standing relationships, and which are now of intense interest to scientists and researchers involved in bioprospecting, genetic modification, and intellectual property law, particularly patents and plant variety rights.

“Protecting taonga species and mātauranga Māori [Māori traditional knowledge] aids the survival of Māori culture itself. That is why…these things are important enough to justify protection in law.”
Ko Aotearoa Tēnei: Taumata Tuarua, Chapter 2

Chapter 3 RMA stuff.

Chapter 4 DoC stuff.

Chapter 5 focuses on te reo Māori

Chapter 6 considers Crown agencies regarding mātauranga Māori.

Chapter 7 examines rongoā Māori.

Chapter 8 addresses Crown’s policies on including Māori in the development of New Zealand’s position concerning international instruments such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Friday, July 01, 2011

Ru Whenua Research: Lincoln Uni funds investigation into Maori networks of resilience through the earthquakes



The scale of damage from the recent and ongoing earthquakes centred in and around Ōtautahi has challenged all networks in the city at a time when many individuals and communities were already under severe economic pressure. In such times, Māori have historically drawn on traditional institutions such as whānau, marae, hapū, and iwi for support. What has worked and what has failed are fundamental questions as other communities (Māori and non-Māori) will likely suffer similarly disastrous events in the future.

A broad approach is needed to account for how people have been affected by the earthquakes, and how and why they respond as they do. Lincoln has funded a small project that investigates the role of Maori-centric networks in supporting Maori and non-Maori in the aftermath of the recent and ongoing earthquakes. Three disciplines provide the intellectual foundations of ascertaining Maori cultural and economic resilience: geography (Dr. Lambert) and community development (Melanie Shadbolt); and two dimensions of environmental hazards: geological (Dr. Black) and eco-toxicological (Dr. Ataria). University ethics approval is currently in process. The project will draw on the team's respective skills to gather and interpret both qualitative data (narrating the personal, professional, and institutional experiences of key actors in responding to the earthquakes) and quantitative data (describing the geo/eco contexts of affected Māori communities).


Photo by Mark Lincoln

We're also hoping to collaborate with the University of Canterbury in a bigger project, currently being drafted and consulted on.


More maps, this time showing the G-forces.

Check out the flow of Tweets immediately following the Japanese earthquake.

Some important points from Grant Jacobs on the Sciblogs. It seems that modern buildings on good foundations, constructed according to the building code in force now, protected lives even though shaken to a greater extent than the code design level.

However, better designed foundations than those used at present are needed to counteract the effect of liquefaction, especially for houses.

Interestingly, non-symmetrical buildings can behave poorly if careful design is not conducted. As for the landscape, potential rock falls on hillside areas overlooking towns and suburbs have to be recognised, and appropriately considered.

Importantly, there are some low cost methods of improving earthquake safety.
  1. Secure heavy items, such as header tanks, and tie back water cylinders.
  2. Brace, strengthen or remove brick or other unreinforced masonry chimneys.
  3. Strengthening may be achieved with a galvanised steel tube grouted into the chimney flue.
  4. Where the chimney is to be removed, demolish completely if located externally, and down to ceiling level if internal. Replace chimneys with code-compliant steel flue.
  5. When building, use “earthquake friendly” materials like piled or waffle-slab foundations, timber (or light steel frame) walls and lightweight roofs.
  6. Remove heavy roofs like concrete tiles and replace them with lightweight materials such as steel.
  7. For remedial works on houses, see the Department of Building and Housing advice.
Simon Lambert

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