chapter  24
Ancestors for sale in Aotearoa-New Zealand
ByMarama Muru-Lanning
Pages 19

Maori are passionately concerned about the appropriation of natural resources in their ancestral territories through processes of colonisation and more recently privatisation. Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is a fundamental Maori concept that over the past three decades has been intimately linked with the protection and wellbeing of natural resources. This chapter explores the complex and diverse nature of Maori responses to the recent wave of electricity-generating asset privatisations in Aotearoa-New Zealand. For Maori, to be kaitiaki exemplifies a duty of care passed down from ancestors to descendants, to nurture and protect places, natural resources and taonga in their territories. In 2011 Mighty River Power's CEO, Doug Heffernan, and the Chair of Mighty River Power's board, Joan Withers, announced in an article that their company "needed to embed ethical governance in their corporate DNA for its decision to partner with Maori land trust interests to use geothermal resources to power its energy generation strategy.