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Bicultural Practices? Self Determination and Hyperlocal Planning in Vogelmorn, New Zealand

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Jerram, Sophie
Conference: In Defense of the Commons: Challenges, Innovation and Action, the Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Lima, Peru
Conf. Date: July 1-5
Date: 2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10669
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Abstract: "This paper aims to open a discussion about how urban and suburban commoning practices in New Zealand, largely driven by European influences, might meet at a conceptual and philosophical level, with the direction expressed by māori in a recent review on constitutional transformation, He Whakaaro Here Whakaumu Mō Aotearoa, also known as the Matike Mai Report (Matike Mai 2016). This report was written after three years and 252 hui (meetings) with māori by māori throughout Aotearoa New Zealand considering alternative forms of constitution. I will specifically examine a case study of a suburban, former bowling green and surrounding precinct in Vogelmorn Wellington, New Zealand as a site of commoning in action, one currently undergoing spatial and legal transformation through the work of its largely white-skinned (pākehā, non-māori New Zealander) neighbourhood in which the author is an embedded community member. A co-governance model has been set up to develop and care for the green. The wider neighbourhood’s decision-making has been developed alongside two years of participatory design workshops and an ongoing distribution of responsibility through largely non-hierarchical structures, and online decision-making tool Loomio. The existing municipal owner of the green, Wellington City Council, supports community co-governance at Vogelmorn and the emergence of what it terms ‘hyper-local’ planning tactics by funding the community’s spatial transformations. Hyper-local planning involves decision-making below the municipal level. The Vogelmorn project is a considered as a benchmark in community participation for Wellington city, laudable for sharing common assets. This paper considers how the evolution of this hyper-local work fits within the specific context of constitutional thinking of contemporary Aotearoa-New Zealand. In the 2016 Matike Mai report, the definition of constitution includes “…the way in which a community sets the rules and how the people should abide by them and live amicably together.” Matike Mai proposes alternatives to the current colonial Westminster model. These models work within values of tikanga (or protocol), community, belonging, place, balance, conciliation and structure; many values akin with European and Anglo-American commoning practice discourse. Writing from the position of actor in the Vogelmorn community and as a pākehā researcher, wanting to acknowledge the extensive influence māori practices and philosophies have had in my understanding of land, this paper aims to begin dialogue or korero between forms of community-driven, hyper-local projects and broader, legal discussion about wider constitutional concerns for New Zealand, in the context of commoning. The paper will be in three parts: a summary of the emerging Vogelmorn community project including governance; secondly, an overview of recent land reforms and proposals including the Matike Mai Report and thirdly, an opportunity to explore further questions around the relations between the two. "

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