SAC # 94

Cross-cultural environmental research and management partnerships: Progress and challenges for ethnobiology



TIME | 16 September 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKERS | Henrik Moller, Janet Stephenson, Rachel Turner (Kā Rakahau o Te Ao Tūroa, CSAFE)


If done in the right spirit, Traditional Knowledge and science can create surprising dialogue and usefully challenge each other for more effective adaptive co-management. However better partnership is hampered by problems of lack of deeper understanding of each other’s knowledge, contested definitions and lack of a shared language, and especially by presumptions (on both sides of the TK-science divide) that one knowledge system is always better than the other in all circumstances. Institutional barriers reduce the number and effectiveness of cross-cultural environmental problem solving and create unequal access to resources and warrants for application of knowledge. But perhaps the main debate concerns whether individual researchers and managers should partition their spiritual and belief domains from bio-physical understanding of how the world works. Do we need scientists to be more spiritual in outlook, analysis and understanding? Can TEK experts accept that science also helps form wisdom and ethical environmental management?

About the Speaker

Henrik Moller, Janet Stephenson and Rachel Turner all contribute to Tirohia he Huarahi, a Marsden project investigating participation by Māori in the Resource Management Act and various fisheries management institutions. This presentation covers some of the main debates that emerged in a Forum which the three of them edited on cross-cultural approaches to research and management that was hosted by the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand in December last year (you can download free the 21 contributions to the Forum at:


This seminar is part of Te Tiaki Mahinga kai’s Te Hao Mātauranga series (



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