Are cultural impact assessments a tool for collaborative management?
Vanstone, Anita Mary
This thesis investigates the participation of Maori (New Zealand's indigenous people) in the impact assessment process. Traditionally, Maori have had limited involvement in the management of New Zealand's environment. One possible solution to this could be through the adoption of a collaborative management framework. Unfortunately, there is limited information and research on tools that could facilitate collaborative management between iwi and applicants for resource consent (including, developers, planning consultants and local authorities). Therefore, this research attempts to fill a gap in current literature and to investigate the potential of the cultural impact assessment as a tool for collaborative management. Despite some criticisms of collaborative management, there are examples where this form of communicative planning has resulted in a very positive outcome for indigenous groups. Therefore, the specific aim of this research is to analyse the extent to which cultural impact assessments can be used as a tool to promote collaborative management between iwi and applicants. In achieving the research objectives of the thesis, the theoretical background of collaborative management and impact assessment theories are explored. In addition, democracy and participation theories are also investigated. In particular, in the discussion of these theories emphasis is placed on the potential involvement of indigenous peoples. The thesis argues that the application of collaborative management via the use of cultural impact assessments may potentially increase Maori involvement in planning. Analysis of collaborative management and impact assessment theories is supported by empirical research. This includes; 1) an exploration of the New Zealand setting for the two theories, 2) a content analysis of cultural impact assessments from eight different iwi authority in New Zealand, and 3) a case study analysis of two iwi organizations that have an established system for undertaking cultural impact assessments (Kai Tahu ki Otago and the Wellington Tenths Trust). The research finds that cultural impact assessments are very similar to other impact assessment reports. However, they should be viewed as evolving documents, as there are some areas of the assessment process that need to be improved upon. The research concludes by suggesting that cultural impact assessments do have the potential to be a tool for collaborative management between iwi and applicants. Further research and education in relation to the content value and process of cultural impact assessments is required. It is also argued that increased resourcing, training and legislative requirements are needed to further increase Maori participation in planning.
Advisor: Thompson-Fawcett, Michelle
Degree Name: Master of Regional and Resource Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis