Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous population, have a unique connection to the environment (Harris and Tipene 2006). In Māori tradition, Papatūānuku
is the land—the earth mother who gives birth to all things, including Māori (Dell 2017). Māori also self-define as tāngata whenua (people of the land), a status formally recognised in New Zealand legislation. Māori have fought to regain tino rangatiratanga (authority and self-determination; see Gillespie 1998) over lands lost via colonisation. Accordingly, Cowie et al. (2016) found that socio-political consciousness—a dimension of Māori identity—correlated positively with Schwartz’s (1992) value of protecting the environment and preserving nature. Yet, Māori perceptions of land also derive from spiritual associations. Our work investigated the spiritual component of Māori environmental regard by delineating between protecting the environment (i.e., a value with socio-political implications) and desiring unity with nature (i.e., a value with spiritual overtones) amongst a large national sample of Māori (N = 6812). As hypothesized, socio-political consciousness correlated positively with valuing environmental protection, whilst spirituality correlated positively with valuing unity with nature. These results demonstrate that Māori connection with the land is simultaneously rooted in spirituality and socio-political concerns.
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