Whakatane hosts international environmental conference

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Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, Whakatane 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 Ngati Awa, Environment BOP and Foundation for Research, Science & Technology (FORST).

Richard Jefferies conference organiser and Provost at Awanuiarangi said the conference is designed to showcase Maori and indigenous planners and environmental decision makers. It aims to enhance and improve the interface between Maori 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 Maori and other RMA practitioners will improve the recognition and utilisation of Maori/indigenous approaches to planning and environmental decision-making, Mr Jefferies said.

Mr Jefferies said the conference would propose the establishment of a Maori Planning Institute. Also, Awanuiarangi – 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 Maori land and other indigenous land internationally.

Awanuiarangi is focused on the needs of Maori and others in the post Treaty settlement era that is dawning. A time when Maori will have the physical, financial, and human capital required to fully control their own destiny. It is important that Maori explore, share, and transmit effective ways to exercise and influence environmental decision-making in a way that incorporates and reflects matauranga Maori – Maori 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 (Maori) at Lincoln University in Christchurch and Professor in Maori and Indigenous Planning.

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

For more information and photographs contact:

Richard Jefferies
Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi
Phone +64 7 3071467
Email: Richard.jefferies@wananga.ac.nz
Website: www.wananga.ac.nz

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