Systems Change Learning

Systems change learning

In 2020, GIFT shared learning and insights around system change, see Mōhiotanga/Insights: Systems Change in the Hauraki Gulf. GIFT grantees report running into systemic barriers harming the mauri of moana, whenua and people, that include:

  • Outdated and inadequate legislation (for example, marine protection legislation is over 50 years old)
  • People working in silos, with split accountabilities for land and water health
  • Investment in destruction over regeneration
  • Colonial, commercial, entitlement mindsets and practices
  • Disconnection from nature.
Mana Whenua are hampered in fulfilling their kaitiaki obligations by over consultation, poor engagement processes, pre-Treaty settlement requirements and capacity issues. This requires all parties to find ways through, including holding space for effective engagement, resourcing capacity, understanding where Mana Whenua are at and working flexibly with them in this context.

There is a growing desire to give effect to Te Titiri o Waitangi through Mana Whenua representation, engagement and co-governance, which is a significant system change. Through GIFT supported projects, there are examples of holding space for Mana Whenua engagement (see link to Noises and Ngāti Pāoa stories), blending mātauranga Māori and Western science, and enabling regeneration activities to move forward in ways that give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, without necessarily requiring formal participation of Mana Whenua.

Participants at the GIFT Systems Change Hui in July 2020.

Wider examples of system changes to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi include the Resource Management Act review recommendations to include a more strategic role for Māori and resourcing for Mana Whenua engagement. The Environmental Protection Authority has recently released a mātauranga framework to help their decision-makers understand, test and probe mātauranga when it is presented in evidence. The Hauraki Gulf Forum adopted a co-governance model with Mana Whenua in 2020.

GIFT continues to influence Foundation North as a system by continuing to build and strengthen Mana Whenua and cross sectoral relationships around shared interests, seeking mātauranga advice and pursuing more bicultural ways of working. GIFT has also informed Foundation North’s Regenerative Environment focus, see link.

GIFT is building a more connected community of change makers. In May 2020, GIFT hosted two online systems change conversations with grantees to consider potential, needs and strengths for system change in the Hauraki Gulf. In July 2020, all grantees were invited to a kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) session to share learning and ideas around system change. See here for the July hui presentation on system change concepts, tools and frameworks. GIFT also initiated a communications stakeholder group to explore more collaborative ways of amplifying the voice of Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

Grantees at the July hui identified these focus areas for their system change work:

  • Raising voices of the Gulf to catalyse mindset change, for example perspectives from whales, dolphins and seabirds (see also Young Ocean Explorers and the GIFT blog)
  • Marine protection, restoration and co-management with Mana Whenua
  • Increasing regenerative investment in the Hauraki Gulf, for example through the Challenge Fund for shellfish restoration and electrification of ferries
  • Supporting changes in policy, and land-based action such as native tree planting and reducing pollutants entering waterways.

In 2021, GIFT will continue to:

  • Support whānau/hapū/Iwi to fulfil their role as kaitiaki
  • Support bicultural ways of working to restore mauri
  • Advocate for ecosystem approaches that give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The GIFT journey with mauri has been transformational. GIFT has held the space for the conversations and learnings around mauri to emerge both within Foundation North and with grantees. The opportunity to hear mātauranga has added so much value to our work. Our organisation now appreciates mātauranga and tikanga is sitting in the room with mana whenua.

GIFT grantee: Damon Birchfield, CEO, EcoMatters Environment Trust

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