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Being a New Zealander: Our Relationship with Nature

Guy Salmon prominent environmentalist explores what we think about nature

Being a New Zealander: Our relationship with nature by Guy Salmon presented at the He Minenga Whakatu Hua o Te Ao hui, Murihiku Marae Aug 2000


In a series of conservation policy debates over the last decade the viewpoints of Mäori on the one hand, and mainly European conservation NGOs on the other, diverged significantly.  The principal differences may be characterised at two levels.  At the level of the conservation ethic which infuses these viewpoints, Mäori stressed sustainability while the NGOs stressed preservation.  At the level of the means of implementation, Mäori stressed local community management while the NGOs stressed the role of centralised rules and State bureaucratic control.  There are a number of important reasons to believe that the tide of history is running with the Mäori view on both these issues.

A reconciliation of our differences, and a willingness to work together, would bring into sharp focus some underlying shared values and a broadly shared view about New Zealand’s future.  As globalisation accelerates, New Zealand’s shared sense of identity will become vastly more important to its destiny.  In shaping this identity, the nation will turn to Mäori and to conservationists, for together we embody at the deepest level, some vital points of difference between New Zealand and the rest of the world.  This is an exciting opportunity: we must be ready to rise to it together.

Go to Guy's full talk and comments from the hui

Go to a list of other talks and discussion at the hui

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