|dc.description.abstract||This thesis seeks to develop an approach to water resource management that is compatible
with the concept of sustainability. Water resource management implies management of the
whole ecosystem, including people. The current approach to management tends to be based
on western scientific rationality. This 'rationalistic' approach is found to be incompatible
with the sustainability concept, at both conceptual and practical levels. New approaches to
management are required.
Western (reductionist) science represents a particular view of the world. Other views are
possible and may be more relevant to the sustainability concept. The Gaia hypothesis, for
which there is now widespread scientific acceptance, and the traditional Maori worldview are
chosen to provide a new approach to understanding how nature functions and a new approach
The Gaia hypothesis implies that ecosystems, integral parts of The Biosphere, can be viewed
as 'open-systems'. The concepts developed in non-linear thermodynamics to explain how
open-systems function are used to provide insight into how ecosystems function. These
insights lead to the belief that nature is an unfolding, learning, creative process.
Communities must 'learn' as ecosystems 'learn'. A Gaia-based approach to management
involves community at a 'grass-roots' level in the decision-making process. Approaches to
community-based management currently being developed in the Great Lakes are used as a
model for management in New Zealand.
The traditional Maori approach to management evolved from a need to develop sustainable
management practices, because earlier Maori management approaches had resulted in resource
depletion. The Maori approach is investigated for its sustainability, and is found to have
resulted in sustainability at both a practical and conceptual level.
The Gaia-based and traditional Maori approach are similar at the conceptual level, but their
practical application varies as a consequence of different cultural and historical factors.
Obstacles to implementing a joint Maori and Gaia-based approach arise, but are mainly a
consequence of attempting to initiate 'new' style of management. Researchers in many parts of the world are discovering methods for overcoming the obstacles that are raised.
The joint or 'unified' approach is used to develop sustainable management strategies for Lake
Forsyth in Canterbury. The approach is found to provide a way of simultaneously considering
many issues in the same framework and the approach has many advantages over the current
management approach. However, it is not possible to say whether the approach will
definitely work in the Lake Forsyth ecosystem; this can only be determined in reality, by trying it.||en