Revitalising Māori environmental indicators to forecast weather and climate extremes

Kaumatua is being interviewed by video on the marae

Project Duration: January 2016 – June 2017

Project Budget: $100,000

Over the centuries, Māori have developed an extensive knowledge (mātauranga) about local weather and climate conditions and the ongoing lessons learnt have been incorporated into traditional and modern practices of agriculture, fishing, medicine, education and conservation, among others.  Formal recognition of these contributions was made at the inaugural Māori Climate Forum in Wellington in 2003, where a number of Māori elders highlighted the importance of giving greater account of Māori knowledge of environmental change, including consideration of how new opportunities might be created to promote learning about subtle signals in nature that can reveal much about changes in weather and climate conditions.

This project will work closely with Ngāi Tahu knowledge holders to identify, revitalise and promote the use of environmental indicators to forecast weather and climate extremes. Utilising a Kaupapa Māori methodological approach and experienced Māori research personnel, it is expected that unique insights will be gained about how local indicators were used (and continue to be used) by Ngāi Tahu to monitor and plan for activities that are sensitive to changes in weather and climate conditions. Key outcomes include the promotion of closer human-nature relationships, inter-generational learning, and making the most of all available knowledge and expertise to manage future risks associated with weather-climate extremes. Articles and educational resources for public engagement will be developed in Māori (Ngāi Tahu dialect) and English to assist the protection, promotion and preservation of these specific forms of mātauranga Māori.

Contact Principal Investigator

  • Apanui Skipper, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Raukawa

National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA), Hamilton



Other Vision Mātauranga projects

Latest news and updates

The third Wai o Papa Exhibition: A project of hope for Māori Coastal communities

One Deep South Challenge project, within the Vision Mātauranga programme, has been exploring adaptation strategies to address climate change impacts on coastal Māori communities.

The future of climate modelling in New Zealand

A new paper published in the 2016 edition of Weather and Climate - the journal of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand - documents the purpose, challenges, next steps and future goals of the NZESM, the New Zealand Earth System Model.

“Accelerating progress in global modelling”: Milestone event for climate modellers

Recently, Deep South Challenge modellers met with experts from meteorological and research agencies in the UK, Australia, Korea, Philippines, India, USA, South Africa and New Zealand at a NIWA-hosted technical workshop on global climate modelling.