Narratives enabling ecosystem based management: reworking public conversations.

Dr Alison Greenaway1, Robyn  Kannemeyer1, Dr Erena  Le Heron2, Prof Richard Le Heron2, Assoc Prof Nick Lewis2, Assoc Prof Carolyn Lundquist2, Dr Janet Stephenson3, Lara Taylor1

1Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Auckland, New Zealand

2University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

3University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand


Scenarios envision how different pathways of development might lead to future environmental governance outcomes. While commonly used in planning contexts and more recently for climate change adaptation, the use of scenarios is in its infancy in environmental planning in New Zealand, particularly for ocean management. Key to the use of scenarios is the narration of possible and plausible futures.  Scenarios about New Zealand’s marine futures and more specifically the narratives used to articulate these scenarios were explored and developed to resource conversations between marine actors.  Our aim is to see how these narratives generate a diversity of possible marine futures.

We crafted a set of multi-media products which depict features on the horizon of the socio-economic land/marine-scape.  We worked with existing narratives about marine management which disrupt and challenge normalised, siloed and ineffective ways of managing. Analysis of existing initiatives was synthesised to provide an empirical foundation for the narratives.  This synthesis supported a move from working with stories as research objects and modes of inquiry to stories as active processes.  Since the act of storytelling and story-listening connects a diverse public this work fosters the imaginative forms of collaboration and place oriented collective action Ecosystem Based Management requires.


Dr Greenaway attends to co-production of sustainable development knowledge and practice. She facilitates and evaluates processes which foster collective deliberation to address complex issues. Alison is currently exploring technologies for invasive species management; implementation of large scale biodiversity restoration; pest control across public-private boundaries; and marine ecosystem based management.

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