Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

New resource for Māori considers complex mining issues and impacts


Tuesday 29 October 2013 3:25pm

‘Māori and Mining’, a multi-disciplinary publication highlighting the issues and challenges of mining in Aotearoa, and its impact on Māori communities and iwi, will be launched today at the University of Otago’s School of Business.

Dr-Katharina-RuckstuhlDr Katharina Ruckstuhl

The publication acknowledges mining is not a new debate, but came about after its predominantly University of Otago authors realised there was no resource that allowed whānau, hapū or iwi to draw together and assess the often bewildering, and sometimes contradictory information, to inform decision-making.

Responding to this, ‘Māori in Mining’ is a comprehensive, yet easily accessible publication that includes a brief survey of the inter-related and complex issues that make up the mining debate in Aotearoa.

The book gives visual examples of the most common types of mining in Aotearoa, including the controversial hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking.’ It looks at Māori values, drawing from Māori resource management plans and other source documents. The legal context of mining as it affects Māori is examined, as is mining’s economic merits.

The last chapter considers the environmental impacts of mining, noting both good and poor practices as well as raising the issue of global climate change.

The 11 mostly University of Otago-based authors felt that given the long history of Māori involved in extractive industries and the diversity of responses (at the last Census, almost 800 Māori were directly employed in the industry, with many more in Australia), there is understandably no single view of how Māori should respond to the prospect of mining in either their home location or in Aotearoa generally.

“Māori have responded to the issue of mining in three main ways: as an economic opportunity, provided that there are environmental safeguards; as a discussion around Treaty rights; or as an environmental issue requiring strong opposition in order to carry out traditional and enduring relationships with Papatūānuku (Earth Mother), Tangaroa (God of the Sea) and future generations”, say the authors.

University of Otago researchers involved in authoring ‘Māori in Mining’ were: Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl (Division of Research and Enterprise); Dr Andrew Gorman and Luke Easterbrook (Department of Geology); Associate Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett and Hauauru Rae (Department of Geography); Associate Professor Jacinta Ruru (Faculty of Law); Dr Lynette Carter (Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific & Indigenous Studies and CSAFE); Dr Diane Ruwhiu and Rachael Turner (Department of Management); and Dr Janet Stephenson (CSAFE, Centre for Sustainability – Agriculture, Food, Energy and Environment). One of the authors, Dr Abby Suszko, is from Aotahi – the School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury.

An electronic copy of ‘Māori and Mining’ can be downloaded for free from the following site from 30 October:

The launch will take place today at 5.30pm in the School of Business staff room in the Commerce Building, Dunedin, ground floor. Guests include Bernie Napp from Straterra and Matpura Ellison from Kati Huirapa Runaka (who is also a Board member of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu), Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark.

For further information, contact

Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl
Tel 64 3 479 7674

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.