Listening for and articulating the Voice of Nature

Dr Dan Hikuroa, Senior Lecturer, Māori Studies, Principle Investigator, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Te Pūnaha Matatini, Faculty of Arts.

Most sustainability imperatives are framed anthropocentrically. Drawing from indigenous knowledge and worldviews of a kinship-based relationship with everything, and balance, we seek to reframe sustainability in terms of the ‘voice of nature’. We challenge the fundamental assertion that we have the right to use ‘resources’. If nature has a voice what is it trying to tell us? The Te Awaroa project (Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga), with Dame Professor Anne Salmond and Professor Helen Moewaka-Barnes, seeks to create a social movement of New Zealanders taking care of our rivers, restoring their collective ora (health) by 2050. The Mai i ngā maunga ki te tai project (Te Pūnaha Matatini) will integrate mātauranga (indigenous knowledge) with science to realise the best outcomes for society and environment. Buoyed by the Te Urewera Act 2014 and Te Awa Tupua Act 2017, whereby a forest and its waterways, and a river and its catchment and people are indivisible and afforded legal personality, we seek to understand, re-connect and re-balance relationships with nature that have been forgotten, disconnected and unbalanced, and articulate the Voice of Nature.