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Whakatāne hosts international conference


Whakatāne hosts international environmental conference

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Whakatāne will host an international environmental management conference. The inaugural International Conference on Indigenous Planning and Environmental Decision Making - Mana Kaitiaki is to be held from 24 to 26 November 2010. It is co-sponsored by Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa, Environment BOP and Foundation for Research, Science font-family: Arial;">

Richard Jefferies conference organiser and Provost at Awanuiārangi said the conference is designed to showcase Māori and indigenous planners and environmental decision makers. It aims to enhance and improve the interface between Māori environmental practitioners operating within RMA processes and their counterparts - industry planners, developers, legislators and academics.

"The intention is that by highlighting best practice and improving the interface between Māori and other RMA practitioners will improve the recognition and utilisation of Māori/indigenous approaches to planning and environmental decision-making," Mr Jefferies said.

Mr Jefferies said the conference would propose the establishment of a Māori Planning Institute. Also, Awanuiārangi - in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, Canada - will launch the Indigenous Land Management Centre. The centre will focus on issues associated with the management of Māori land and other indigenous land internationally.

"Awanuiārangi is focused on the needs of Māori and others in the post Treaty settlement era that is dawning. A time when Māori will have the physical, financial, and human capital required to fully control their own destiny. It is important that Māori explore, share, and transmit effective ways to exercise and influence environmental decision-making in a way that incorporates and reflects mātauranga Māori - Māori knowledge, beliefs, views and perspectives."

The conference is hoping to attract 180 participants from around the country and overseas. A number of world-class keynote speakers in the fields of Indigenous Planning and Environmental Decision Making will attend and include Regents' Professor Ted Jojola and Professor Hirini Matunga.

Ted Jojola is from the United States and has been at the forefront of American Indian and Indigenous Environmental Planning for many years. Professor Matunga is Assistant Vice Chancellor (Māori) at Lincoln University in Christchurch and Professor in Māori and Indigenous Planning.

Mr Jefferies said the conference hopes to attract participation from all sectors of society involved with environmental management.

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