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Minister for Climate Change Meets with Te Arawa

Te Arawa is ready to begin adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, met with Te Urunga o Kea - Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group in Rotorua today.

Iwi representatives told Minister Shaw local hapū are prepared to begin implementing pilot programmes and trialling a range of initiatives to support building community resilience.

“Climate change is broad and impacts all people in different ways,” says Nicola Douglas, spokesperson for the Te Arawa collaboration on climate change.

“Te Arawa is looking at a long-term and holistic approach to preparedness, and reaching for a response that benefits all people including future generations. ‘Mokopuna Decisions’ guide us.”

Nicola says the Minister is interested in the Te Arawa approach to addressing climate change, and the views of the iwi on the Zero Net Carbon Bill and Climate Change Commission.

“Te Urunga o Kea – Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group is already active in a number of climate change-related spaces. Te Arawa Primary Sector Inc. are representing iwi landowners on the Net Zero Carbon Bill and Emissions Trading Scheme,” Ms Douglas advised.

“We have whānau looking at changes to marae infrastructure in order to deal with the impacts of increasing severity of extreme weather events; as well as possible mitigations of sea level rise on our Little Waihi and Maketu communities. One of our people is working in the Preparedness – Emergency Management area; another in the climate change research and education field; and others are looking at sustainable energy options for the tribe.”

Ms Douglas says the group is also working in partnership with Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Scion to research and produce a Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy.

“We highlighted to the Minister the need for more resourcing to iwi and hapū organisations to determine and define our own environmental and socio-cultural needs and solutions. We need to establish baselines to assess how Māori will be impacted with a shift to a low carbon economy,” she says.

“We also sought mechanisms to ensure Te Arawa and other iwi are at the decision-making table to design and implement climate change policy.”

BACKGROUND

Te Urunga o Kea – Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group was established in January to ensure tangata whenua are leading the discussions about what can be done at a local level, and engaging proactively to enable appropriate measures to be put in place to address identified potential needs of the iwi.

The group is working in four focus areas: Preparedness, Education, Research and Leadership with key themes so far including food/water security; the impact on Te Arawa lands and industries (agriculture/horticulture/forestry); emergency management; energy; and the effects of sea level rise in Maketū.

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