Lakes380 is exploring how New Zealanders’ relationships to lakes have changed over time
How do we relate to lakes?
Lakes hold a range of values and meanings for people throughout New Zealand including; mahinga kai, recreation, ecological, aesthetic and spiritual values, hydroelectricity generation and tourism, and their importance in whakapapa and local histories. Lakes are significant features of our social as well as natural landscapes. Our social scientists are interviewing New Zealand lake experts to learn about the variety of lake values and uses dominating different regions, and corresponding management challenges and approaches. Case study research will provide deeper insight into how specific lakes matter to New Zealanders, and how they interact with them in their daily lives.
Why have our lakes changed over time?
Our social scientists are examining legislation, policy, and other historical records to identify how society’s use and management of lake environments has changed over time. These records reflect changes in how lakes are valued, used, and impacted, from the early drainage of lowland lakes to today’s efforts to replant lake margins. Analysis highlights the key socio-economic and political factors that have driven changes in New Zealanders’ relationships to lakes, and consequently the extent and state of lake environments.
What do changes to lake environments mean for us?
Social science research sheds light on how changes in the state of New Zealand’s lakes has affected particular communities, including their access, use, and relationship to their lakes. Stories of the connections and values lost through the re-engineering and degradation of lake environments reveal the human consequences of these changes, and trade-offs in the development of lake catchments. Our social scientists are investigating hopeful stories of community-led lake regeneration across New Zealand, highlighting the resources required to protect lakes and realise community aspirations.