past event

In Common reading group

Saturday 16 Nov 2019

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Saturday 16th November, 1-3pm

Central Park, Brooklyn (meet at park entrance off the bottom of Brooklyn Road)

Wet weather venue: Enjoy

Pipi Press is an initiative to publish critical and hopeful content which encompasses the poetic and political. The not-for-profit publishing house takes its name from the whakataukī, he pipi te tuatahi, he kaunuku te tuarua, translated as first the small entering wedge, second the large splitting wedge, referring to the felling of a tree. Pipi envisages their books as small beginnings towards wider change. 

Join Gabi and Cait from Pipi Press for a friendly and informal reading and discussion group where we will share knowledge and thoughts around two texts from In Common (their first book that has recently launched): Water, an introduction by Nate Rew and A visit to Maungahuka, a ramble through the history of New Zealand’s conservation estate and some chit-chat about the weather by Eleanor Cooper. This event will be held in the peaceful surrounds of Central Park in Brooklyn.

A digital copy of these texts is available here. No prior knowledge of the ideas discussed in the text is required. After a short presentation from Gabi and Cait, we will discuss these texts as a group.

Today, the management of natural resources in Aotearoa and around the world is largely in the hands of colonial states and capital, driven by economic values over principles of care. As a conservation worker, Eleanor Cooper writes in the space between two landscapes. Digging into the history of our colonial conservation estate, she unearths a dissonance with Māori practices of kaitiakitanga. Colonial, protectionist ideas of conservation keep our richest ecological environments inaccessible, in order to preserve the picturesque. This is antithetical to Māori understandings of whenua as “the interconnected ecology to which people belong, rather than it belonging to them”. The indigenous model is one of sustainability, not preservation, of being part of the ecology and acknowledging that it is part of you. The legacy of state conservation has separated Māori from their whenua, restricting their ability to act as kaitiaki.

Nate Rew clearly asserts the dysfunctions of allowing capital to manage water sources, as it is “incapable of putting the value of water before profit”. While multiple instances of corporate water (mis)management have led to contamination and depletion, states continue to allow companies to extract water, treating it as a commodity to be sold. Like Cooper, Rew cites successful resistance by Indigenous peoples as providing a way forward by reconceptualising “an entirely different way of relating to the resources we rely on: a relationship of guardianship, of kinship with them—rather than exploitation”. For Rew, these struggles rekindle “not only relationships to the earth, but also to other first nation peoples”. These connections to each other “can begin the process of decolonising”.

In Common is launching in Te Whanganui-a-Tara at Enjoy on Thursday 14th November, accompanied by a discussion from Gabi and Cait. 

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