Te Tai Uka a Pia - Iwi relationships with Antarctic and the Southern Oceans to enhance adaptation to Climate Change

  • Project Duration: July 2016 – June 2018
  • Project Budget: $150, 000

According to the tribal narratives of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ati Awa, it was the Polynesian explorer Hui Te Rangiora who was the first human to travel to the Antarctic. His journey is remembered and honoured as he sits aloft the meeting house Tūrangapeke at Te Awhina marae in Motueka gazing out in his continual search for new lands. He also adorns the Pou at the entrance to the Riuwaka Resurgence with the same gaze transfixed on the horizon. The Riuwaka Resurgence is the place that he took rest preparing himself spiritually and physically for the journey into the Southern Oceans. This is one recorded version of Māori journeying into the Southern Ocean. But, what are the other stories held by hapū and iwi, especially those who occupy the South Island and the Chatham Islands, and how might these be used to frame our ongoing relationship with the Antarctic and responses to climate change? 

In this project we will work alongside with hapū and iwi from Te Waipounamu (South Island) and Rekohu (Chatham Islands) to better understand the extent and nature of the relationships Māori had with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean, and to identify local challenges associated with climate change through both tribal stories and contemporary living arrangements. Given the historic under-representation of Māori in research conducted in the Antarctic and the Southern Oceans, it is important to identify ways to connect mātauranga Māori with climate change science and to bring Māori perspectives into wider discussions about adaptation to climate change. The learning from this work may be used to carry future messages on climate change to a Māori public whose interest will be enhanced by synergising their tribal narratives with scientific explanations.

Contact Principal Investigators: 

Associate Professor Sandra Lee Morrison, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Rarua, Te Arawa

University of Waikato, samorr@waikato.ac.nz

Aimee Kaio, Ngāi Tahu

Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu Invercargill, aimee.kaio@ngaitahu.iwi.nz


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