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Speaking up for Hawke's Bay's natural environment

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Last week, two University of Waikato academic staff visiting Hawke’s Bay added their voices to the growing conversation about the future of Hawke’s Bay’s natural environment. They were urging multi-disciplinary partnerships that safeguard our biodiversity and natural landscapes, whilst ensuring sustainable and thriving businesses and communities.

Addressing a large audience at the launch of the Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay Corporate Sponsorship programme on Tuesday evening, Associate Professor Eva Collins from the Waikato Management School said that cities should be seen as part of the solution to New Zealand’s biodiversity decline. Around 87% of people in Hawke’s Bay live in cities and this can lead to a disconnection from nature. City-based organisations that traditionally take leadership roles - local government and businesses - thus need to play a more active role in ensuring nature is integral to decision making. She says that traditional business models can lead to tensions when considering environmental outcomes and, therefore, new partnership structures are needed that enable diverse partners to find common solutions. Her research is about how to structure such partnerships so that everyone - businesses, the community and the environment - win. With many businesses attending the launch, she is likely to attract some great case study participants to work with in the Hawke’s Bay region.

Meanwhile, Professor Bronwen Cowie from Waikato’s Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research has been considering how we might encourage young people to become the environmentally-savvy business leaders of the future. Instilling a love of, and connection to, the natural environment at a young age is key, and this can be achieved by engaging with nature in every-day situations. She was presenting at a hui organised by Eastern Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Education, where 40 educators were shaping the future of teacher education in Hawke’s Bay. EIT’s vision is for all of its teaching graduates to have learning experiences that enable them to incorporate the use of outdoor learning environments in their teaching practice. Prof. Cowie described national and international perspectives on using the environment as a context for learning with the aim of providing quality educational outcomes. Partnering EIT to organise the workshop were the Cape to City team from Hawke's Bay Regional Council and the Air New Zealand Environment Trust.

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