New Zealand is a relatively small country of four and a half million people in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. Known as Aotearoa in the indigenous Māori language, it is geographically isolated and is rich in both renewable and non-renewable resources. Successive governments have signalled their commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for ‘100 % Pure’ New Zealand. However, over the past two decades as the issue of climate change looms ever larger, the implementation and effectiveness of government policies for sustainable energy have come into question (Buhrs & Christoff, 2006; Byrd & Matthewman, 2013; Grimes et al., 2012; Royal Society of New Zealand, 2014). Per capita greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are high, sitting below the US and Australia, but significantly higher than the UK and many other developed nations (Ministry for the Environment [MFE], 2017). The community energy sector has a potentially vital role to play in helping to empower and educate the citizenry to support the switch to more sustainable practices. In recent years many countries have experimented with innovative forms of citizen engagement in order to involve the public in deliberation on and design of energy transitions (MacArthur, 2015; Seyfang & Smith, 2007; Walker, Hunter, Devine-Wright, Evans, & Fay, 2007).
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Julie L. MacArthur
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