|dc.description.abstract||Little research has been undertaken into the management priorities of indigenous people who have exotic species forests planted on their ancestral land. This thesis investigates two case studies in the central North Island of New Zealand, where planted forest leases exist over large areas of tribal land. In both cases, Māori families have maintained collective ownership of the land but the forest management is undertaken by a third-party entity.
This thesis draws from four fields of knowledge to investigate the experiences of the Māori land owners: forestry science, New Zealand post-colonial history, social science and resilience thinking. The study uses document analysis and in-depth interviews to identify historical and contemporary perceptions of the forests, the existence of non-negotiable cultural values for land management, and the potential for improving the forest management practices to better meet land owners’ aspirations. In both the case studies, Lake Taupō Forest Trust and Maraeroa C Incorporation, the land owners discuss the planted forest in terms of land management structure, forest management practices and non-negotiable values. The realisation of land management objectives is critically influenced by the governance, tenure and regulatory frameworks of their land. Forestry management practices are generally compatible with the land owners’ non-negotiable cultural values for their land.
Applying a resilience framework provides insights into the effectiveness of land owners’ resistance to land loss, their adaptations to land management approaches, and their contemporary goals for forest management. While the experiences of the land owners might have been expected to result in transformation, this, in fact, has not occurred and the communities have remained resilient. The concept of ‘resilience pivots’ is proposed to describe matters of fundamental and enduring importance central to cultural wellbeing which have been retained, around which other components have been adapted. The resilience pivot concept provides a novel approach for discussing resilience, adaptations and transformations of indigenous communities.
The findings of this research have been productive in several respects – in revealing the histories and lived experiences of a largely unexamined forestry sector; in developing an interview format with potentially wider application to other forest stakeholders; in proposing an extension to resilience thinking; and in recommending changes to forest management.