Risk management for Māori coastal assets

art exhibition at the Dowse

Coastal Māori farming communities are already affected by sea level rise. Erosion of the beach and even the collapse of some coastal infrastructure during storms is happening in several parts of the country. Effects such as flooding due to rising groundwater are subtler and more widespread. 

Project Duration: August 2017 – January 2019

Project Budget: $300,000

This project builds on the significant collective knowledge about climate change risks and opportunities built throughout 2015–17 in the rohe of Horowhenua– Kāpiti (see page 8). This second phase of our project aims to take another step towards change: co-developing Transition Action Plans that, given local conditions, will enable Māori communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand to assess the risks and benefits of alternative coastal land use.

In the first phase of our project, we combined data about soil, floods, topography, river sedimentation and sea level rise to identify the most vulnerable areas of our coastal farms. We also used an interdisciplinary approach to identify indicators of change and staged strategies for adaptation. This second phase will examine physical processes such as future change in groundwater levels, and identify a wider range of options for managing wetlands and landscapes.

Although multiple reports have been produced about coastal erosion risks – including by local and regional councils – none have highlighted social engagement processes that could lead to effective community action. Our Māori-led interdisciplinary action research approach prioritises social engagement when considering how to respond to sea level rise and other climate change impacts. 

Photo credit: Huhana Smith

Contact co-Principal Investigator:

  • Assoc Prof Huhana Smith, Head of School of Art Whiti o Rehua,

College of Creative Arts, Toirauwhārangi, Massey University, Wellington, Mobile: 021 244 8711, Email: Huhana.Smith@massey.ac.nz

Other Vision Mātauranga projects

Latest news and updates

Deep South Challenge tackles crucial task of understanding and adapting to climate change

On Monday 4 September, Minister for Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith will open the inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium at the Wharewaka (Wellington waterfront), about how New Zealand can and must change in line with our changing climate.

Climate Change and Mātauranga Māori

Seven kaupapa Māori climate change projects – a first for New Zealand climate research – to be celebrated at inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium

Climate Change Engagement in Aotearoa New Zealand

A new report released by the Deep South Challenge this month recommends increasing the availability of plain-language resources about climate change in both English and te reo Māori, framing scientific information for application to practical decision making, and increasing access to climate change conversations for a wider array of end-users.