Kā Uri ā Papatūānuku: An investigation of pre-contact resource management in Te Wāi Pounamu
Is the common perception that all indigenous peoples are innately harmonious a true depiction of reality? This research project aims to diffuse this theory. Its prime focus is to explore this notion of conservation in relation to southern Māori, and how, or if, such norms did indeed evolve within pre-contact southern Māori society. Upon arrival into the less biddable environment of Te Wāi Pounamu life proved to be very difficult for these Polynesian voyagers. Te Wāi Pounamu, a land beyond the reaches of tropical Polynesia, gave a whole new meaning to adaptation. Initial settlement was by no means an easy task, however with persistence, cultural divergence transpired. What once were Polynesian voyagers, at home on the ocean, became a uniquely shaped people in accordance to the environmental circumstance of Te Wāi Pounamu. Cultural concepts derived from Polynesia were adapted to give explanation to the new phenomena of Te Wāi Pounamu. Through implementation of such belief systems into everyday life, southern Māori developed a balance between human and their environment. The central aim of this dissertation is to explore the past in order to give meaning to the future. It examines how southern Māori may have adapted their physical, spiritual and cognitive development to suit the environment in which they dwelt, consequently suggesting that the land influenced humans more than humans may have influenced the land.
Degree Discipline: Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Department of Anthropology
Keywords: Māori; Ngai Tahu; Ngāi Tahu; South Island; Te Wai Pounamu; Conservation; Traditional Ecological Knowledge; Sustainability; Rangimarie Mules Environment New Zealand
Research Type: Dissertation