ABSTRACT. Walking has gained prominence in social sciences as a source of inspiration for scholarly narratives and methodological experimentation with embodied ways of knowing. Walking across biosecurity research facilities and declining forests has been an essential part of the fieldwork that informed my doctoral research and this article. My steps followed those of the experts in forest pathology or traditional Māori healing, involved in the research and management of microorganism-induced plant diseases in Te-Ika-a-Māui (Aotearoa|New Zealand). Whether we looked at the progress of phosphite treatments, the attempts to reproduce the infection within controlled settings, the fatal evolution of the disease in the wild, or the discharge of tree patients treated with an experimental rongoā, my companions directed my attention toward different aspects of a shared reality. This article discusses some of the ways in which biosecurity in Aotearoa is being shaped by the cohabitation of science and mātauranga Māori. Walking around, I argue that social scientists must adjust their pace and attune their methods to better account for increasing and overlapping socio-environmental emergencies.

Keywords: biodiversity loss; indigenous knowledge systems; science stories; ethnography; qualitative methods; walking

How to cite: Ayala, M. B. (2023). Walking, Sensing, Knowing: An Ethnography on Foot Around Forest Biosecurity Interventions in Te-Ika-ā-Māui. Knowledge Cultures, 11(1), 260–281.

Received 1 November 2022 • Received in revised form 1 February 2023
Accepted 11 February 2023 • Available online 1 April 2023

open access

Maria Blanca Ayala
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Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha|University of Canterbury
Aotearoa|New Zealand

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