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Marsden researchers listen to voice of harbours
Dr Marama Muru-Lanning

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An Auckland University researcher has won a Marsden Fund grant to look at how flaxroots Màori exercise kaitiakitanga of their harbours.

Environmental anthropologist Dr Marama Muru-Lanning, the director of the Sir James Henare Research Centre, has previously studied the relationship Màori have with rivers.

Because of her team’s family and professional connections, the three-year study will look at the Kāwhia, Manukau and Whangārei harbours.

She’s keen to unpick the idea of kaitiakitanga and how because of its inclusion in legislation the rich complexity of the Maori idea has been reduced to being just another stakeholder.

"Often the people who are on the harbours, they're not the people the crown and the government want to talk to. The crown and government are choosing their representatives and we are sometimes stuck with those people representing us when it's really the kaitiaki, those home people, those flax roots, people, somehow we hope our project will bring them more into the picture and give them more voice, so that is the name of our project, listening to the voices of our harbours," Dr Muru-Lanning says.


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