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"I am the whale": Human/Whale Entanglement in Kaikoura, New Zealand

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Abstract

Kaikoura is balanced on the edge of land and sea and it is the creatures of both that make the community. I explore the entanglement of two creatures in particular, whales and humans, in this small New Zealand town where whale watching has become part of everyday life. But ‘watching’ can be planned or unexpected, up close or at a distance; it can mean guardianship or tourism or something in between, and in Kaikoura, watching whale watchers watch whales is as much a shared community practice as watching the whales themselves. In this place, the naturalcultural encounters of whales and humans construct diverse experiences, a plurality of identities and a community that is as linked to whales as it is to humans. It is with this everyday living with whales that my stories and those of my participants are concerned.

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