Māori and conservation
The Māori people had a changing conservation ethic from the time of their discovery and settlement of New Zealand until the present day.
The Māori were the first humans to settle in New Zealand and brought the kurī and the kiore, a Polynesian dog and rat. The kiore, along with mammals introduced later by Europeans, would cause a major significant adverse impact on indigenous species. One of the greatest negative ecological impacts of the early Māori people was the wholesale burning of forests, for the purpose of hunting and killing birds. Greater than the bird population decimations was the deforestation of vast tracts of land; approximately half of the native forests of New Zealand were lost within several hundreds of years following initial Māori settlement from the combination of wood harvesting and forest burning.
Rāhui is a form of protection of natural resources that Maori implemented as a conservation measure as well as other reasons.
A Cultural Health Index for waterways has been developed that links Western science and the cultural knowledge from Māori about stream health.
- Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand - Simon Nathan. Conservation – a history
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