Te Hiku o Te Ika Climate Challenge

Project Duration: January 2016 – December 2017

Project Budget: $250, 000


The iwi of Te Hiku O Te Ika in the Far North have long shared the concerns of te iwi Māori about environmental transformation, and latterly the impact of climate change on people, places and ecosystems. Colonisation, exploitation and marginalisation have minimised the ability of manawhenua to exercise kaitiakitanga over their lands, exacerbating environmental degradation. The Waitangi Tribunal findings of the WAI 262 Flora and Fauna claim, led by Te Hiku iwi, centred on the idea that the natural environment is under assault and that our taonga are severely threatened. Te Hiku o Te Ika has abundant kai moana, kai awa and hua whenua that sustained early Māori nutritional needs, building deep relationships between people, places and species that continue into the present as crucial material, cultural and spiritual resources. Within this context, where human occupation is characterised by small, isolated settlements for whom rainfall is the main source of drinking water, we aim to explore water supply quality and sustainability for human consumption in the context of changing climate conditions.

We will work alongside three communities within Te Hiku, to understand location-specific issues, environmental variation and climate change to design practical solutions to sustainable supply. Using a kaupapa Maori framework, knowledge will be built in situ with community partners and transferred through established Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust (THIDT) networks such as iwi runanga/trust boards, marae, schools and kura. The proposed research provides an opportunity for THIDT, currently involving Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto and Te Rārawa, to take a collective rohe-wide approach to understanding the impact of climate change on water supplies so that our communities can strategize to prepare for, minimise, and reduce detrimental effects. It also provides an opportunity to build community capabilities that can be transferred to other locally salient climate change issues and thus has far reaching implications for kaitiakitanga around indigenous flora/fauna, mātauranga, sustainability practices and policy.


Contact Principal Investigator

Wendy Henwood, (Te Rārawa)

Te Hiku Iwi Development Trust and Whariki Research Centre, Massey University W.A.Henwood@massey.ac.nz


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