Geographic and ecological features

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Many voices of the Manukau


This chapter provides contextual background and introduces several narratives that dominate the decision-making landscape associated with the study area that are intended to be both creative (Rose, 2006) and compelling (Gibson-Graham, 2008; Pratt, 2009). The goal is to encourage the reader to emotionally engage with the material contained in this thesis, and through this engagement, to allow for the possibility of a radical transformation of geographic understandings of the politics of this place (Cameron, 2012). Narratives are utilised to illuminate both the boundaries that delineate experiences unique to the study area, and the bridges that connect this place and its people to others throughout the past, present, and future. The term ‘narrative’ is used to reflect the representation of an overarching set of values. This is distinguished slightly from ‘stories’, which are defined as a more individual perspective. Stories can contribute crucial examples to the narrative, but do not alone constitute it. Many of the stories, perspectives, ideas, and goals introduced in the narratives in this chapter are also woven throughout the thesis. In an effort to remain true to these diverse narratives, but also to reflect the conflict that characterises the cultural dialogue about this particular place, some of the opinions and interpretations of facts and figures provided in this chapter may not agree with one another, or with other elements of this thesis. Cronon argues that narrative is ‘our best and most compelling tool for searching out meaning in a conflicted and contradictory world’ (1992, p. 1374). These differing perspectives are therefore an important part of the thesis and its context, and do not detract from the research findings. Instead, the conflicting narratives presented in this chapter emphasize the importance of the small but significant moments of agreement, cooperation, and compromise that arise from this research. In the sections that follow, pertinent elements of indigenous, local, government, and research perspectives on the study area are explored. Narratives missing from the thesis are also mentioned. Each narrative is bounded in part by ethnicity, history, legislation, training, place, and myriad other socio-cultural and social-ecological factors. The narratives chosen focus on illuminating key elements of the complex and interconnected SES of the study area that contribute to the wickedness of its problems. The approach also aims to allow highly valued ES to emerge from the Manukau through the voices of those who use and value it, rather than to impose an outsider’s perspective on what ES exist, and are of value. I begin by describing the geographic and ecological features of the area, to ground the study in the physical characteristics of the place. In the indigenous perspectives section, I outline events and qualities of great importance to Māori world views and cultural identity, including pertinent origin stories, the concept of kaitiakitanga or guardianship, and the relationship with non-indigenous settlers and the Crown. The local perspectives section describes the early European settlement and industrial development of the study area, laying the foundations for a discussion of contemporary local concerns. The Government section describes the perspectives of three government agencies that have authority over the study area; Auckland Council, the Department of Conservation (DOC), and the Ministry of Primary Industries – Fisheries (MPI). The narratives in these sections are embedded primarily in pertinent legislative documents that inform the activities and relationships of these institutions with other stakeholders and with the study area itself. In the research section I have included scientific and academic evaluations of the environmental condition and values associated with the study area. I have included this section after the more social narratives to emphasise that while science and research can provide critical benchmarks and information about the study area, the problems and their possible resolutions are firmly embedded in the entangled social dynamics described in the previous sections. In the final section I highlight a few examples of perspectives that have not been included in this study, but could contribute to future work. My goal in drawing attention to the missing voices early in the thesis is to be transparent about the contributions that this thesis makes, and those that it cannot. Of course, reality is much more complex than what can be conveyed in a written account. I do not presume to speak for any individuals, who may choose to identify with some, all, or none of the perspectives described here, nor do I attempt to represent all possible perspectives associated with the study area. However, individuals who self-identify with one or more of the perspectives described in this chapter participated in this study, and I have used their voices to develop and punctuate these narratives where appropriate. My goal is to present these many voices in this chapter, to invoke a dialogue about the challenges and values associated with Mangere Inlet, Manukau Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Geographic and ecological features

Essential geographic and ecological features of Mangere Inlet and the Manukau Harbour are described in this section. These characteristics set the scene for the narratives that follow, providing common ground from which to begin an exploration into the socialecological dimensions of this place. Located on Aotearoa New Zealand’s west coast (Figure 2.2), Manukau Harbour is the second largest of New Zealand’s harbours, covering an area of about 365 km² (Vant & Williams, 1992) and associated with a catchment of approximately 895 km² (Kelly, 2008b). Manukau Harbour was formed when a Quaternary dune barrier (<2.6 million years before present, today known as Awhitu Peninsula) enclosed a large bay between Port Waikato and the Waitakere Ranges (Kelly, 2008b). This area may have been connected to the Pacific Ocean at times by narrow straits, but its development was primarily directed by the deposition caused by the ancestral Waikato River, the flow of which has since been disrupted by volcanic activity in the Pukekohe–Bombay area (McLintock, 1966a). Today, the Waikato River empties directly into the Tasman Sea. Volcanic activity has repeatedly re-shaped the land in and around the study area. As recently as 140,000 to 60,000 years ago, nearly 50 volcanoes erupted in the Auckland area, forming the Auckland volcanic field (Figure 2.3), an area that is still considered active (Campbell & Hutching, 2007). Several iconic volcanic features from the Auckland volcanic field are associated with the study area including the Mangere Mountain scoria cone, Pahoehoe lava flows at Kiwi Esplanade, and several lava caves preserved at Ambury Park (Figure 2.1) (Department of Conservation, 2014b). The entrance to the Manukau Harbour is narrow in relation to the harbour itself (Figure 2.4), with a width of only 2.3 km, and tidal flows in combination with littoral drift have generated a large offshore ebb-tide delta (Hicks & Hume, 1996). The harbour is a relatively shallow basin with a spring tide range of 2.8 m and average depth of 6.1 m (Kelly, 2008b). Extensive intertidal mud flats and sand banks are “a dominant, and ecologically important, feature” (Kelly, 2008b, p. 8). Four channels in the central harbour radiate from the harbour entrance: Wairopa and Purakau in the north lead to Mangere Inlet, while Waiuku leads to the Waiuku River in the south and Papakura leads to Pahurehure Inlet in the southeast (Figure 2.4). At low water, these are the only navigable areas for larger vessels, but the primary hazard for ships utilising the harbour is the shifting sand bar, which creates heavy swell and strong breakers that have long made navigating the harbour entrance dangerous (McLintock, 1966a). Manukau Harbour is defined as an estuary (Category F) by Hume et al (Hume et al., 2007). Estuarine environments are characterised by a range of extremes. Temperature, nutrient concentration, salinity, currents, turbidity, changes in bottom sediment, and exposure/submersion can all shift dramatically in a matter of days or even hours (Henriques, 1977). Organisms that live in estuaries are therefore generally adapted to tolerate a wide range of environmental fluctuations, and due to the range of habitats and environmental conditions found in estuaries, these areas often support a diversity of wildlife and provide many ES (Table 2.1) (Levin et al., 2001; Lotze et al., 2006). Estuaries continuously provide goods and services through a complex suite of ecosystem processes, the diversity of habitats within estuaries, and the connections between habitats within estuaries, but the significance of these processes is largely unrecognised in decision making frameworks (Thrush et al., 2014). Management and governance of these areas is further complicated because the goods and services are not always utilised or valued in the same location as the processes that support them (Hein et al., 2006). The National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) includes the Manukau Harbour in the Northern New Zealand climate zone (National Institute of Water and Atmosphere, 2014). This area experiences sub-tropical climate conditions with warm, humid summers and mild, wet winters. Summer daytime maximum temperatures usually range from 22°C to 26°C, but rarely surpass 30°C, while winter daytime maximum air temperatures typically range from 12°C to 17°C. SW winds prevail for much of the year, but in summer and autumn, storms of tropical origin may bring high winds and heavy rainfall from the east or northeast.

Indigenous perspectives


Five Māori tribes claim traditional links to the study area and are currently involved in elements of decision making that affect the area. These tribes are: Ngāti Te Ākitai, Ngati Te Ata, Ngāti Tamaoho, Ngāti Whātua-o-Orākei and Te Kawerau-a-Maki. Representatives from each of these tribes were invited to participate in this study, but not all chose to do so. Therefore, instead of describing the perspectives of each of these tribes in detail, this section provides a general indigenous perspective on the study area, relaying key concepts and events that have shaped Māori relationships with the resource management and governance of this area throughout history. This narrative illuminates the historical claims of Māori jurisdiction over and connection to the area, and the disenfranchisement experienced by Māori at the hands of non-indigenous groups. Government approaches towards resolving these problems are described, and reflections on the current state of relations are offered.


In the beginning, Ranginui (the sky) and Papatūānuku (the earth) were joined together, and their children were born into the darkness that existed between them. To allow light into the world, the children decided to separate their parents. The children then became the gods of the natural world; Tāne became the god of the forests and Tangaroa the god of the sea, but there were many others (Royal, 2012b). Tāne made the first woman from soil. Her name was Hineahuone (the female element who comes from the soil). She had a daughter with Tāne named Hinetītama, later known as Hine-nui-te-pō, who is seen in the dawn and in the setting sun. In many Māori traditions, it is said that all human beings are descended from these ancestors (Royal, 2013). The land that forms New Zealand’s North Island is said to have been dragged up from the ocean by the demigod Māui, who used the jawbone of his grandmother as a hook (Figure 2.5). The Māori name for the island is Te Ika-a-Māui (Māui’s fish). The South Island is referred to as Te Waka-a-Māui, or Māui’s canoe. Rakiura (Stewart Island) is the canoe’s anchor. The ruggedness of New Zealand’s landscape is attributed to Māui’s brothers, who greedily tried to cut up the fish while it was still alive, causing it to thrash, thereby creating mountains, cliffs, and gorges (Orbell, 1995). These events are of great importance to the Māori world view, as they provide an origin for tribal land tenure in New Zealand (Royal, 2013). According to tribal histories, the first human inhabitants of the area today known as the Manukau Harbour settled along the northern shores in about 900 AD; these people were known as the Tāmaki and Maruiwi (Waitangi Tribunal, 1985). The name “Manukau” may not have been bestowed upon the area until 1350 AD, when Māori traditions indicate that the great double hulled Tainui sailing canoe arrived in the Waitemata Harbour and was hauled across the Tamaki isthmus to Manukau Harbour (Figure 2.1):
Local community representative 3: When they [Tainui] arrived they sent out a scouting crew because they heard huge noises out here, and thinking it could be other tribes living there, but it was found to be birds. Huge birds, a lot of birds, so they called the place Manukau after the birds.
There are several stories associated with the origins of the name “Manukau”, but the most common explanation suggests that the name is derived from the harbour’s connection with large populations of birds; the word “manu” means bird, and “kau” means a swim, suggesting that the Manukau was a “bathing place for sea birds” or a “place of the wading birds” (McLintock, 1966b). The area became well known for its ample supply of fowl, but also for its plentiful fish and other kaimoana (food from the sea). Snapper, flounder, mullet, and shellfish such as scallops, cockles, and pipi made the Manukau an important fishing ground (McLintock, 1966b). One tanagata whenua representative (a tribal authority over land or territory) who participated in this study explained that “the Manukau, traditionally even in the early contact period, was a very lively place. It was thick with canoes at times.” Terraced gardens planted by the Māori settlers throughout the area provided bountiful harvests of kūmara and taro, which thrived in the rich volcanic soil. The vestiges of one of the largest of these can still be seen today at the Otuataua Stonefields (Figure 2.1) (Peart, 2009a). Portages from Manukau Harbour to both the Pacific Ocean (Figure 2.1) and the Waikato River made the area an important transportation centre for Māori, and many villages were established along the shores of the harbour, and pā (fortified settlements) were built in most of the volcanic cones that dotted the landscape (McLintock, 1966b). An important strategic pā was established and the remnants are still visible at Mangere Mountain (Figure 2.1). The concept of kaitiakitanga, which means guardianship or stewardship, played a central role in the traditional relationship that tangata whenua (Māori people – literally people of the land) had with the environment. Customary practices often sought to maintain a balance between the use of resources and maintaining their availability (Royal, 2012a). Local hapū (sub-tribes) were frequently considered to be the kaitiaki, or guardians, of a nearby lake or forest, and the health of these areas reflected on and was reflected by the health of the entire community (Royal, 2012a). A related concept, manaakitanga, which means hospitality, kindness, or generosity, is traditionally practiced by offering visitors the very best of the local resources to eat and drink. Although the first recorded contact with Europeans dates from 1642, when Able Tasman’s Dutch ships sighted New Zealand but did not come ashore (King, 2003), European immigrants did not begin to arrive in large numbers until the late 1830s (Peart, 2009a). To enable as peaceful a settlement of New Zealand as possible, the British Crown negotiated with Māori rangitira (chiefs), a process that resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, a document written in both English and Māori, on 6 February 1840. Unfortunately, differing interpretations of the Treaty (Waitangi Tribunal, 2014a) have contributed to decades of conflict, despite the fact that the Treaty itself is not part of domestic law in New Zealand (except where it has subsequently been referred to in Acts of Parliament) (Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 2014). In 1975 the debates about the Treaty reached a crescendo, culminating in the passage of the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, which established the Waitangi Tribunal, a permanent commission of inquiry whose sole purpose is to make recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown which breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi (Waitangi Tribunal, 2014b). This development gave the Treaty of Waitangi legal standing in New Zealand for the first time (Treaty of Waitangi Act, 1975). Since the establishment of the Tribunal, more than 2000 claims have been lodged against the Crown, and several major settlements have been reached (Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 2014). Many of these claims concern the abuse of land and water by encroaching European settlers and the subsequent widespread damage and pollution that has been caused throughout the New Zealand landscape. In the 1980s, Waikato-Tainui submitted a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal because of concerns over the Manukau Harbour and its environments (Waitangi Tribunal, 1985). The Manukau Claim is about “the despoliation of the Manukau Harbour and the loss of certain surrounding lands of the Manukau tribes…underlying the claim is an enormous sense of grievance, injustice and outrage that continues to haunt the Manukau Māori and bedevil the prospect of harmony in greater Auckland” (Carton & Thissen, 2009, p. 1). The Manukau Claim (Waitangi Tribunal, 1985) alleged that the Crown had not met its Treaty responsibilities in relation to Waikato-Tainui but that instead, Crown policies had caused a serious and continuing deterioration in the quality and quantity of seafood available to the Waikato-Tainui hapū. Specific grievances related to land confiscation; the failure of the Crown to protect tribal interests and tribal rights to resources in and around the harbour; loss of access to parts of the harbour and resources therein either through restrictions/prohibitions or as a consequence of pollution from farm run-off, sewage, and industrial discharge affecting opportunities for fishing; and infringement of tribal rights due to the location of industries near the harbour which affected the health of the harbour. The findings of the Waitangi Tribunal in response to the Manukau Claim acknowledged the traditional rights of Waikato-Tainui in relation to the harbour and made recommendations to various government departments to give greater recognition to Māori rights and values as they relate to the management of resources in and around the harbour. The Claim provided impetus to improve the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant (MWTP) (Figure 2.1) and to address pollution problems associated with the discharge of sewage and other contaminants into the harbour. Today, tangata whenua representatives are frequently involved in the management of natural resources and heritage areas around New Zealand as co-managers due to legislated rights afforded by the Treaty of Waitangi Act (1975), and the Resource Management Act (1991) (RMA). In the study area, tangata whenua have been extensively involved in a project to redevelop the Onehunga foreshore (Figure 2.1) (Auckland Council, 2012a; Thompson, 2012). The relationship between tangata whenua representatives and other legislated authorities is far from perfect, but the reconciliation process is ongoing (Orange, 2012). Tangata whenua representatives generally support the protection of and continued access to or use of heritage areas, the continuation of traditional activities and practices such as waka ama paddling and collection of kaimoana, and practices that sustain or improve the environment (Independent Māori Statutory Board, 2012). Māori access to markets, jobs, and other social opportunities is also often a strong motivating factor for tangata whenua representatives (Independent Māori Statutory Board, 2012). But even without legislative rights and statutory obligations, many Māori still consider themselves to be guardians of the land and water that is their ancestral home. In Mangere Inlet and the surrounding areas of the Manukau Harbour, the interest and involvement of tangata whenua in coastal redevelopment projects is strong:
Tangata whenua representative 1: This [the redevelopment of the Onehunga foreshore] is one of the larger scale contemporary projects that has happened in the area since legislation like the Resource Management Act and since Treaty claims have been processed, and I think that the degree of interest in Auckland Iwi in it reflects our contemporary desire to be kaitiaki for our environment.

Table of contents
Table of contents
List of tables
List of figures
1.1 Situating the study: an introduction to wicked coastal problems
1.2 Research methods and context
1.3 Research contributions
1.4 Thesis overview
2. Many voices of the Manukau
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Geographic and ecological features
2.3 Indigenous perspectives
2.4 Local perspectives
2.5 Government perspectives
2.6 Research perspectives
2.7 Missing perspectives
2.8 Conclusions
3. Wrestling with wicked problems: a review
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Our wicked world
3.3 Approaches and frameworks for wrestling with wicked problems
3.4 Participation and wicked problems
3.5 Models and wicked problems
3.6 Social qualities for addressing wicked problems
3.7 Conclusion
4. Methodology and methods
4.1 Methodological approach
4.2 Strategy of inquiry: mixed methods for wicked problems
4.3 Methods
4.4 Conclusion
5. Participatory modelling and ecosystem services
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Workshop 1
5.3 Workshop 2
5.4 Fishing, boating, and wild food gathering questionnaire
5.5 Conclusions
6. Participatory modelling, social values, and social capital
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Processes that promote the generation of social qualities
6.3 Indicators associated with the generation of social qualities
6.4 Conclusion
7. Conclusions
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Research question and methodological approach revisited
7.3 Summary of conclusions and implications of findings
7.4 Balancing benefits and limitations of the research
7.5 Future research directions
7.6 Epilogue
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G

Many voices of the Manukau: Participatory modelling, ecosystem services and decision making in New Zealand

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