Gail Tipa

Gail Tipa

I belong to the Ngai Tahu tribe, from the South Island of New Zealand. For the last 20+ years I have worked on freshwater projects mainly for the benefit of Maori.

New Zealand has some of the world’s highest quality fresh water, ranking in the top ten for both its abundance and its cleanliness. However, variability in the occurrence of water means that there are often shortages because that water is seen to be in the wrong place and at the wrong time. In addition, the relationship between water use and water quality may mean that while there is an abundance of water as a whole, high demand for quality waters may result in scarcity for certain uses. From the perspective of Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) issues can arise where their cultural values, beliefs and practices are seen to be in competition with commercial and other interests for the same water. Effective participation of Maori in processes to develop flow regimes is needed to ensure that the impacts experienced by Maori in the past are not repeated. A Cultural Flow Preference Study (CFPS) is a process that has been applied by Maori in more than 50 New Zealand rivers to enable Maori to identify their flow preferences, together with the dependencies of a number of their cultural beliefs, values and practices on specific aquatic conditions at a particular time of year. In this presentation we provide an overview of the CFPS methodology before examining case studies across the South Island of New Zealand where the CFPS process has been applied.  We present examples of the data collected before examining the range of analyses that were used to assist Maori and resource managers with their decision making.  We compare the results of the cultural flow preference studies and those of scientific flow assessments.  We conclude the paper with the outcomes of statutory processes that show how resource managers have responded to the stated flow preferences of Maori. 

View 2018 Environmental and Cultural Flows Presentation here

The research sought to assist Maori (the indigenous people) to undertake a “big river” flow study. The catchment chosen was the Waitaki catchment. A secondary aim, before we could undertake a big river study, was to identify the sub-catchments that we were to focus on. Our final aim was to undertake a vulnerability assessment for all 50 sites assessed by Maori using the Cultural Health Index, to identify those that are categorized as highly vulnerable. This first step would ensure that Maori, in preparing a flow study to inform the future review of the Allocation Plan focused on the sub-catchments that were highly vulnerable. A structured objective process was important given that the catchment is shared by three indigenous groups. Secondary sources were utilized. We had a rich database of qualitative and quantitative data that included contemporary photographs and historic paintings, survey maps and photographs.  We compiled a matrix that started with Maori aspirations for a selection of sites from Aoraki (ancestral mountain) to Korotuaheka (a reserve) at the river mouth.   We then used expert opinion and analysed CIAs, CHI results, whanau evidence, climate change reports, and technical reports to identify the likelihood of these aspirations being realized, focusing on the factors that could limit realization. This information then enabled us to calculate the risk. We used a whanau based expert panel to rate the consequence. Whanau and hapu are already active in the Waitaki and are implementing a range of strategies and policies that could loosely be described as adaptation strategies. Once we had estimated risk, consequence and adaptive capacity we had the components to determine the vulnerability of the respective sub-catchments. This assessment also identified a number of areas of significance to whanau, such as groundwater, spring fed streams, and wetlands, where there is limited data.

View 2018 Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Values Presentation here

The research trialled fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) as a tool available to Maori (the indigenous people) and resource managers to aid utilization of Matauranga Maori (indigenous knowledge) in water management. We used FCMs to structure and analyse data collected by Maori concerning the health of river catchments, and their perceptions of factors adversely impacting stream health, and consequently their cultural beliefs, values and practices that are dependent upon healthy river systems. We demonstrate how fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) informed the decisions of Maori. Our presentation will identify how different knowledges informed construction of FCMs for 14 sub-catchments in the Opihi catchment in New Zealand, and one for the catchment as a while. When analyzed, the FCMs highlighted differences between Maori expectations and perceptions, and those of non-Maori, in other words the differences between indigenous knowledge and scientific assessments of the same waters were explicit. In our case study, centered on the Opihi, we created a weighted, directed FCM, which was a semi-quantitative representation of individual and group knowledge.   FCMs are increasingly are being used globally to promote collective decision-making or to better utilise knowledge held within communities. Our Opihi FCMs combined knowledges, preferences and values with semi-quantitative estimations of perceived relationships between concepts/variables. By understanding relationships between variables, the FCM helped identify components of a “solutions package” needed to protect the beliefs, values and practices of significance to Maori. We illustrate how cognitive mapping and its extension fuzzy cognitive mapping, can assist Maori to more effectively structure and apply their knowledge to aid identification of their management needs for inclusion in planning processes to set flow regimes and nutrient limits. Crucially, our FCM helped Maori participate in scenario planning processes and provided guidance on the non-negotiables for inclusion in solutions package for the sub-catchments

View 2018 Communicating Science Presentation here

 

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