Intergenerational investments or selling ancestors: Māori perspectives of privatising electricity generating assets Event as iCalendar

(COMPASS Research Centre)

22 September 2016

4 - 5pm

Venue: Room 107, Fale Pasifika Complex (273-107)

Contact info: Martin von Randow

Contact email:

Website: COMPASS

Dr Marama Muru-Lanning, University of Auckland

Against the wishes of many Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders, the National government partially privatised Mighty River Power (now known as Mercury) and Meridian in 2013, and Genesis Energy in 2014. Using kaitiakitanga (guardianship) as a lens I will examine how contemporary privatisation processes redefine Māori relationships with their lands, resources and ancestral territories. My research introduces some of the moral dilemmas and ethical contradictions that emerge for iwi-Māori in relation to neoliberal privatisation. My study asks: how do iwi understand the sale of electricity companies that draw on natural resources which Māori recognise as: tūpuna (ancestors), taonga (treasures), atua (super-natural beings) and whānau (family); have Māori become shareholders in electricity assets; and how might being shareholders mediate their duties as kaitiaki?

This presentation will reveal the complex range of Māori experiences and responses to privatisation and contribute to scholarship on the impacts of privatisation on indigenous peoples.

Marama Muru-Lanning is a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Director at the James Henare Māori Research Centre. She is an advisor of elderly health projects in the School of Population Health. Her research is primarily concerned with debates and critical challenges in social anthropology where she focuses on the cultural specificity of Māori and their unique sense of place and belonging in New Zealand. What distinguishes Marama as a social scientist is her specialisation in water rights, environment and indigenous issues. She currently holds a Royal Society Marsden Research Grant, is the Chair of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania and is a Council member of the Journal of the Polynesian Society, New Zealand’s oldest scholarly journal. Marama is from Tūrangawaewae Marae and is of Waikato Tainui and Ngāti Maniapoto descent.


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