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Nature helps us get through lockdown – Analysis of responses to Te Papa’s Te Au | The Current

In 2020 the following question was posed on Te Papa’s Te Au | The Current – ‘Nature helps us get through lockdowns – workplaces should give back one day a month for nature’.
Nature Futures Framework

Nature Futures Framework

Interpreting responses through poetry

Participants were invited to select one of five options (Excited, Hopeful, Don't care, Worried, Angry) and to complete an open text box.

Social researchers from Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research analysed 1,558 meaningful responses to the open text box from young people (24 years old and under). They used a Nature Futures Framework from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to analyse how people express their relationship with nature.

The researchers collated responses into the following poems to reflect key themes. The number/s at the end of the poems is the code that corresponds to a participant’s response. For example; [Refs: C658, C663, C678, C690] means that four participants’ responses were used to create the poem.

Nature as culture – People living in harmony or at one with nature

Positive responses for ‘Nature as culture’ focus on caring for the environment and Papatuānuku so that future generations will have “a brighter, a cleaner future”. Participants expressed a strong connection between being a New Zealander and our environment.

We take
our beautiful country for granted.
It's time
as New Zealanders to give back
to our land and ocean.
It needs
to be looked and cared for
for many generations
to come.
[Ref: C435]

Give back and connect
with nature, and support the
mana and mauri
of our Whenua,
and our individual,
collective hauora.

[Ref: C57]

However, some negative responses in the ‘Nature as culture’ category thought a day off a month to spend time in nature was not realistic in the current economic climate.

I do not care!!!!!!!!
cos, I am not doing it. I
am happy to go to the mall.
I just
don’t care!
I just don’t care!

[Refs: C658, C663, C678, C690]

Who will pay for this?
Small businesses need support
to be able to
offer this during
hard times. Business owners need
mental health support.
Adds financial stress.
Who will pay employee wages?
Unemployed can do it.

[Refs: C453, C454]

Nature for society – Nature’s benefits to people

Some participants thought that if people could spend one day a month in nature, they would be more productive at work and in the long run, employers (and the environment) would benefit.

What's not to love?
Great for mental health, great for
te taiao, great for

[Ref: S173]

Nature makes people
calmer and happier so
then there will be less
mental health issues.
People will appreciate nature
more and try and save it more.

[Ref: S144]

Nature for nature – Intrinsic value of nature

Some participants expressed concern about the environment and species becoming extinct – “the birds are disappearing rapidly. I hope birds cannot get Covid” [Ref N79].

Nature is nature.
Nature is cool and
nature rocks. Nature
is about survival. If
Not for nature, no
animal would live.
Nature is important – is
fun. I love nature.

[Refs: C513, C523, C693, C605, C706, C730, C845]

Our ecosystems,
natural environment –
unique, wonderful!
I hope we preserve
them. We are nature.
Aotearoa nature
is so beautiful.
[Refs: C1169, C1368, C1321]

What is Te Au | The Current?

Te Au | The Current is a forum for responding to environmental issues either in person at Te Papa’s Te Taiao Nature exhibition or online . In the first year of operation ‘The Current’ engaged with over 50,000 respondents and over 50% of responses included a free-text comment. Topic Questions change regularly and are written in partnership with researchers or organisations, or in quick response to current events. Responses are shared with researchers via .

Te Au | The Current

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