New Zealand, one of my favorite countries in the world, is very determined to reduce its energy dependency. No surprise for an island nation that pays a hefty premium on imported energy because of its remote location. Luckily, New Zealand is blessed …with large natural renewable resources. It is particularly rich in geothermal energy and keen to expand its production. Many of the geothermal sites are owned by the Maori, the indigeneous people of New Zealand. The Maori have a very strong relationship to the land: they are keepers and guardians that put utmost importance on ensuring that land resources will be available for future generations to come. The exploration of geothermal energy therefore requires a careful synergy of indigenous knowledge and practices and modern day science and engineering. New Zealand is not the only country where this fascinating merge of the old and new ways of life is taking place. The Big Island of Hawaii, for example, is going through a similar process in its exploration of geothermal energy.
We talk to Dan Hikuroa, an earth scientist and Maori who is heavily involved with the geothermal energy expansion in New Zealand, about the challenges in implementing indigenous beliefs in contemporary settings.