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

 

Air NZ Wine Awards: Victory For Villa Maria As Pinot Noir Thrills

It was a night to remember as Villa Maria Estate picked up one of the highest accolades of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, at the 28th Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The Villa Maria Single Vineyard Southern Clays Marlborough ... More>>

ALSO:

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news