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The Quiet Environmental Revolution

September 29, 2023 at 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Location:A602 Loeb Building

photo of John Reid

Public Talk: The Quiet Environmental Revolution

How the Waitangi Treaty settlement process (between Māori and the Crown) is transforming environmental policy and the transition to sustainable enterprise in the food and fibre sectors of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr. John Reid (Ngāti Pikiao, Tainui, and Tauiwi))
Kā Waimaero / Ngāi Tahu Centre, University of Canterbury

As of September 2021, a total of 76 iwi (Māori tribes) in Aotearoa had successfully concluded Treaty of Waitangi settlements with the New Zealand Crown. These settlements, while individually distinct, generally encompass formal acknowledgement of historical injustices and an apology from the Crown, financial compensation, cultural redress, co-governance or joint management arrangements pertaining to specific resources, and collaborative initiatives for development and capacity-building.

In terms of environmental impact, these settlements are instigating a significant shift in resource management practices as indigenous knowledge begins to shape environmental policy. Concurrently, the settlement process has given rise to iwi corporations that collectively possess substantial and expanding assets within the farming, forestry, and fishing sectors. Notably, these corporations operate under the close scrutiny of their owner communities, for whom the land and waters hold profound cultural significance as cherished family members and ancestors demanding reverence, awe, care, and respect. Consequently, this scrutiny drives innovation and fosters endeavours aimed at attaining net-zero or even positive environmental footprints within primary sector enterprises.

This lecture will offer an overview of the treaty settlement process, explore the transformative effects of settlements on environmental policy, and highlight how iwi are spearheading the transition to sustainable practices in the primary sector.


Dr. John Reid brings over 20 years of experience working closely with iwi. From 2009 to 2013, he served as the Economic Development Manager at Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, which represents and facilitates the development of one of Aotearoa’s most affluent and populous iwi. Currently, he holds leadership or co-leadership positions in three mission-led national research programs dedicated to fostering sustainability transitions within the farming and fishing sectors.  In addition to his professional expertise, Dr. Reid is a registered tribal member of Ngāti Pikiao and Te Arawa, further enhancing his connection and understanding of iwi.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, and the Centre for Community Innovation at Carleton University.