Climate resilient Māori land investment decisions to enhance prosperity

dry river bed in the Tapuaeroa Valley

Project Duration: October 2015 – September 2017

Project Budget: $250,000

Climate change is expected to have major implications for future and existing investment in New Zealand. Māori not only have long-term interests in the land they own and/or manage but are also heavily invested in primary industries, and these interests are exposed to a range of vulnerabilities connected with present and projected climatic conditions. The East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island is an area that is already suffering from the repercussions of previous land management decisions that have led to high rates of erosion and sedimentation. Such impacts are likely to be exacerbated by climate change through extreme rainfall events leading to even higher erosion losses; and drought events are also expected to be more profoundly felt due to degraded soil resources. To enable more enduring decisions by Māori organisations, a clearer understanding is needed of climate change impacts and their implications for investment decisions. Such knowledge is critical to improving the ability of Māori landowners to mitigate or avoid the potential consequences of climate change, as well as enhancing the resilience of their investments and the prosperity of their communities.

In order to contribute to the enhancement of existing decision-making and governance arrangements, this project will undertake an economic analysis of catchment-level ecosystem-based interventions to mitigate climate risks within the Waiapu catchment on the East Coast of the North Island under a range of climate change scenarios. The economic modelling will be undertaken using the New Zealand Farm and Agriculture Regional Model (NZFARM), which is an economic land use model that has previously been used to explore the impacts of water and climate policy and resource constraints, climate impacts, and opportunities to improve land-based productivity and profitability in other catchments in New Zealand. Downscaled climate impacts have also recently become available through the Climate Change Implications and Impacts (CCII) programme, making this kind of analysis timely and relevant to Māori land investment decisions. This project is a collaboration between Landcare Research NZ (LCR), SCION and a collective of 7 hapū in the Waiapu catchment represented through He Oranga mo ngā Uri Tuku Iho Trust.

Contact Principal Investigators:

Shaun Awatere, Landcare Research - Hamilton,

Tui Warmenhoven, He Oranga mo ngā Uri Tuku Iho Trust,

The investigation team assess the Tapuaeroa river project site.

Other Vision Mātauranga Science Projects

Latest news and updates

David Frame: Understanding climate risks makes us all less vulnerable

With the recent storms and floods ransacking parts of New Zealand, Professor David Frame put pen to paper to discuss floods, attribution and the power of citizen science to help us understand our climate and be more prepared.

Reaching a new generation: Jamie's World on Ice

In November last year our colleagues at Antarctica New Zealand took Kiwi YouTube and social media star Jamie Curry to Antarctica.

Scientists work to get celiometer system ready for RV Tangaroa cruise

Big thanks go to Maggie Barrett from for helping to get the system to Christchurch within a very short timeframe!