This paper offers a commentary on a selected highlight from the recent Environmental and Water Resources Institute congress (EWRI) held in Hawaii (2008). The theme of the conference was “Ahupua’a: Environmental and Water Resources Technology for a Sustainable Future” and the presentations provided important lessons for sustainability practitioners. The work at the conference also provided strong relevance to the Fifth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability to be held in Mauritius in 2009. Particular reference is made to the work of Kumu Ramsay Taum which emphasises the inherent wisdom of Native traditional ecological knowledge and suggests a way forward for our westernised society. Some parallels with Māori traditional knowledge in these areas are briefly drawn.

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