Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Researchers turn to “wisdom of elders”


Monday November 5, 2012

Researchers turn to “wisdom of elders” to boost conservation and biodiversity

A University of Waikato-led research project which draws on the “wisdom of the elders” to improve conservation and biodiversity has won support from the prestigious Marsden Fund, New Zealand's funding for ideas-driven research.

“He rongo i te reo rauriki, i te reo reiuru: Whakataukī and conservation of biodiversity in Aotearoa” will receive $345,000 over three years in a Marsden Fast-Start grant, designed to help outstanding young researchers establish themselves within New Zealand.

The interdisciplinary study of traditional Māori ecological knowledge, as expressed through whakataukī or proverbs, aims to uncover the past relationships that Māori have with the environment.

The project will be undertaken by linguist Dr Hemi Whaanga of Waikato’s School of Māori and Pacific Development with fellow Waikato doctoral graduate ecologist Dr Priscilla Wehi, who is now a research fellow at Otago University.

Dr Whaanga will lead the examination of how linguistic cues place the whakataukī in social and historical context, and the multiple meanings that emerge. Dr Wehi’s expertise is in traditional ecological knowledge and its relevance to environmental management. Tom Roa of the University of Waikato will also be closely involved with the linguistic analysis, and the project will later extend to draw from the expertise of other Māori elders.

“Many whakataukī carry conservation messages,” says Dr Whaanga. “For example, there are a number of sayings about the loss and extinction of the moa, which happened in the mid 15th century. For Māori, when we lose a species we don’t talk about it in a Western way. There’s no sense of separation from our genealogy. They are embedded in our whakapapa, so it’s like losing a member of your family. So these whakataukī have become a metaphor for significant loss as in the case of te reo Māori.”

Dr Whaanga says the researchers will draw from linguistics, sociology, history and evolutionary theory, combining Western traditions of scholarship and kaupapa Māori methodologies. “We want to explore the knowledge and understanding of conservation and biodiversity embedded in whakataukī, and investigate the contribution these sayings can make to contemporary issues in language and cultural sustainability, biodiversity and conservation.”

To do this, the researchers will ‘unpack’ the messages in whakataukī through engaging with Māori elders and using linguistic and discourse techniques. They hope their findings will help inspire and promote alternative conservation approaches within Aotearoa New Zealand.

Two other associate investigators will also assist with the project. Dr Luisa Maffi of Royal Roads University in Canada is co-founder and director of Terralingua, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to research, education and policy development around biological, cultural and linguistic diversity. Professor George Appell of Brandeis University in the USA is an international expert on oral literature documentation and methodology.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news