• Guidance

Ingredients to catalyse participation in marine decision-making

The 'Ingredients Tool' is a 1-page practical resource for marine managers, and others, to support broad participation in marine decision-making.


There is no failsafe ‘recipe’ that can be applied to every marine decision-making scenario, and which will work for every iwi and hapū, government agency, community group and business with an interest in a particular marine ecosystem.

However, our research has identified ‘ingredients’ – questions grouped into themes – that can help build consensus and reduce conflict. These were identified by examining case studies of participatory initiatives that had taken place across Aotearoa.

The tool can be adapted to suit local circumstances and priorities. This means anyone can use it as a practical guide to structure discussions, determine agreed goals and encourage deep conversations about challenging issues.


These ingredients (themes and questions) help people to think about their own circumstances and prompt them to consider the actions they can take that suit their situation, location and community.

Use the tool to:

  • Catalyse conversations – This is a device to enable deep conversations that probe challenging issues and connect between the range of issues that need to be thought through to enable successful change and action. There is no specific ‘beginning’ point; the tool offers key questions to explore throughout a participatory process. Where and when, and in what depth, these questions need consideration depends on the process, the people and the issue.
  • Determine agreed goals – There is no one answer to the questions posed; it is the discussion around these questions that is invaluable in refining agreed goals and values that are inclusive, context aware, and politically agile. It is what the questions mean for the people and institutions in this place and at this time that is critical.
  • Adapt to the circumstances – This tool is applicable in multiple situations and ways. Interested parties can negotiate and combine the ingredients in a different way, or
    a different order as appropriate for their context. The posed questions may be time sensitive, meaning that responses may have greater or lesser importance at different stages of the participatory process