• Report

Literature review: Indigenising the blue economy in Aotearoa New Zealand

This literature review explores three themes on both constraints and potential solutions for Māori transitioning to a blue economy. Rout M, Mika J, Reid J, Whitehead J, Wiremu F, Gillies A, McLellan G & Ruha C (August 2023)

Indigenising the blue economy focuses on addressing barriers that prevent Māori using their marine resources in a more culturally relevant, economically impactful, and environmentally sustainable manner.

This literature review explores three themes, focusing on both constraints and potential solutions:

  1. Pāhekoheko (integration)—supporting Māori-led integrated planning 
  2. Auahatanga (differentiation)—kaitiaki-centred products and business models 
  3. Whakatautika (balance)—creating opportunities for Māori in coastal communities 

The goal of the indigenising the blue economy research is to partner with Māori authorities (iwi and pan-iwi entities and Māori enterprises) to explore and support Māori who aspire to a blue economy imbued with mātauranga, treaty principles, and a focus on Māori wellbeing, human potential and relational balance with Tangaroa as our tīpuna. 

During co-development with Māori stakeholders, three key constraints were identified limiting Māori from transitioning to a blue economy.

  1. The first is the fragmented regulatory and jurisdictional environment in which Māori operate.
  2. The second is the concentration of Māori investment in certain fisheries assets and adherence to conventional business models vulnerable to systemic shifts.
  3. The third constraint is structural limitations on Māori coastal communities realising economic opportunities in the marine economy.

The “particular language of… ‘ecosystem services’ affects how we understand and relate with the multiple selves of ‘the natural environment’.” This gets to the heart of the changes required for a real ‘blue economy’, not just taking slightly less fish but actually changing the way we relate to and think about the oceans and their inhabitants.

The concept of the blue economy has been gaining traction as species extinctions, population collapses, and ecosystem declines across the world’s oceans have made the plight of the seas impossible to ignore. A blue economy is one where marine activities create economic value and contribute positively to social, cultural and ecological well-being.

  • Indigenising the BE Literature Review

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