Weaving Our Stories Worldwide: An indigenous approach to global economics and ecology

Todd Taiepa

Abstract


The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 between Māori, the
indigenous people of New Zealand, and the British Crown
allowed British governance in New Zealand, while affirm-
ing Māori authority over their traditional territories (Orange
1995). However, the establishment of a settler dominated
parliament undermined Māori authority over customary re-
sources (Orange 1995). In addition an aspect of coloniza-
tion that has been termed ‘ecological  imperialism’ (Cros-
by  1996),  characterized  by  the widespread  dispersal  of
animal and plant species across the world, has distorted
the environmental and cultural landscape of New Zealand
and other countries. Displacement of native species by in-
troduced species as well as  land management practices
that were highly destructive to existing ecosystems (Park
1995) has  resulted  in a major physical  reconstruction of
the natural landscapes. Furthermore, the practice of tak-
ing natural resources from around the world, and repack-
aging and distributing  them primarily by  functional value
or potential economic opportunity, failed to recognise the
cultural  and  spiritual  associations  between  indigenous
people and the environment. Long established ecological
and human connections have been severed in deference
to  these demands and  this  is one of  the  legacies of our
global marketplace.

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