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

 

Keep Digging: Seabed Ironsands Miner TransTasman Tries Again

The first company to attempt to gain a resource consent to mine ironsands from the ocean floor in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone has lodged a new application containing fresh scientific and other evidence it hopes will persuade regulators after their initial application was turned down in 2014. More>>

Wool Pulled: Duvets Sold As ‘Premium Alpaca’ Mostly Sheep’s Wool

Rotorua business Budge Collection Limited (Budge) and sole director, Sun Dong Kim, were convicted and fined a total of $71,250 in Auckland District Court after each pleading guilty to four charges of misrepresenting how much alpaca fibre was in their duvets. More>>

Reserve Bank: Labour Calls For Monetary Policy To Expand Goals

Labour's comments follow a speech today by RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler in which Wheeler sought to answer critics who variously say he should stop lowering interest rates, lower them faster, or that inflation-targeting should no longer be the primary goal of the central bank's activities. More>>

ALSO:

BSA Extension And Sunday Morning Ads: Digital Convergence Bill Captures Online Content

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government’s plans to update the Broadcasting Act to better reflect today’s converged market... The Government considered four areas as part of its review into content regulation: classification requirements, advertising restrictions, election programming and contestable funding. More>>

ALSO:

March 2017: Commerce Commission Delays Decision On Fairfax-NZME

The Commerce Commission has delayed its decision on the proposed merger between NZME and Fairfax Media's New Zealand assets, saying the deal is complex and it needs more time to assess the impact on both news content and the advertising market. More>>

ALSO:

Plan Plan: Permanent Independent Hearings Panel Proposed For Planning

The Productivity Commission recommends creating a permanent independent hearings panel like the one that cut through local politics to settle Auckland’s Unitary Plan, for the whole country. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: NZ Jobless Rate Falls To 5.1% Under New Methodology

New Zealand's unemployment rate fell more than expected in the second quarter as Statistics New Zealand adopted a new way of measuring the labour market to bring the country in line with international practices, and while a growing economy continued to support jobs growth. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news