Publication details [#7756]

McCallum, Wayne, Kenneth F. D. Hughey and Stephanie S. Rixecker. 2007. Community environmental management in New Zealand: Exploring the realities in the metaphor. Journal of Language Teaching and Research 20 (4) : 323–336. 14 pp. URL


There has been a resurgence of interest in the role that communities can play in addressing matters of environmental change and resource allocation in New Zealand. There has, however, been a paucity of research critically exploring the contribution of such community initiatives to environmental sustainability. We report from the qualitative analysis of six case studies, grounded on the themes of social capital, the social construction of nature, and sustainability. Insights emerging from observations, interviews, and documents suggest that community environmental management approaches are more complex than portrayed in normative descriptions, with matters such as social collectivity, interpretations of nature, and ideas about biophysical change being more variable than commonly portrayed. Appreciation of this and other factors appears necessary for aligning the expectations of community environmental management with the capacity of human and nonhuman systems. These observations have implications for the practice of community environmental management within New Zealand and internationally. (Wayne McCallum, Kenneth Hughey and Stefanie Rixecker)