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)

NIWA – Hamilton


Other Vision Mātauranga 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!