Perceptions of risk and uncertainty

We are investigating people's perceptions of risk and uncertainty in the marine environment and how these different experiences can improve decision-making about marine resources.

Project Leader Duration Budget
Paula Blackett (NIWA) & Shaun Awatere (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research) May 2020 – June 2022 $852,100


There are many ways people understand and react to risk and uncertainty. These differences can be a source of conflict in decision-making, especially in the marine environment. Given the diversity of mātauranga Māori, values and preferences, it is not surprising that some decisions made about marine resources are contested.

But there is very little knowledge on the degree to which these perceptions of risk differ and how this affects decisions. Understanding the different perceptions of risks and uncertainty is crucial to building consensus around decisions, or at least appreciating why a decision has been made.

This research is taking a grounded (case study) approach with mātauranga Māori at its centre. This approach recognises that perceptions of risk are underpinned by many different ways of understanding and interpreting that risk. By comparing the different ways people perceive risk and uncertainty, we will be able to inform more inclusive tools, policies, practices and processes that can improve decision-making.

The aims of this project are to identify tools, frameworks or processes that:

  • can help make marine decision-making practices more inclusive
  • address both risk and knowledge uncertainty in a way that reduces risks to the benefits derived from marine resources
  • promote Māori rights, interests and values in tools, frameworks or processes.

Achieving these aims will contribute to our objective of enhancing the utilisation of marine resources within environmental and biological constraints.

Research Team

Paula Blackett (NIWA)
Shaun Awatere (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research)
Nikki Harcourt (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research)
Erena Le Heron (Le Heron Leigh Consulting Limited)
Richard Le Heron (Le Heron Leigh Consulting Limited)
Regan Fairlie (Manaaki Te Awanui)
Jade Hyslop (Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research)

Related News

Related Events


This is a national project.