Maori cultural sites among the most vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise
Moving away from areas that have been burial grounds and sources of food for generations is a tough proposition for Maori.
“So these conversations illustrating, okay, your marae might be impacted, or you might need to move is a very hard pill to swallow,” said Akuhata Bailey-Winiata, a PhD student at the University of Waikato.
Since two tectonic plates meet in the middle of Aotearoa, parts of the coast can sink quickly. For this reason, the global average sea level rise of 30cm by 2060 will arrive in parts of New Zealand in just 10-20 years.
Mātihetihe Marae is one of 191 marae in Aotearoa that lies within 1 km of the coast, and of these coastal marae, 30% are located less than 10 m above sea level.
But now, with the vertical land motion data, what that means for the marae is really exactly how they’re going to be affected.
For example, blue dots on a map from the New Zealand SeaRise program website indicate that the mouth of Hokianga harbor is sinking. White and pink dots further up the estuary suggest land movement will increase, but flooding could still have a big impact on the marae and communities there.
“This information should help communities decide, ‘Do I need to move this now? Or do I have a little more time than I thought. Well, if I have less time than I thought, and if we’re going to move or shift, where should we put it so it’s future-proof?” said NZ SeaRise study co-lead Professor Richard Levy.
Activist Mike Smith is currently taking New Zealand’s biggest carbon emitters to the Supreme Court. He is also in charge of climate change policy for the Iwi Leaders Chair Forum.
He said Maori will have a team working directly with the Department of Environment on the government’s National Adaptation Plan to deal with the impacts of climate change.
“We’re going to be rolling this out over the next month or two. It’s going to empower communities by providing full-time positions for climate navigators and each of those communities will start doing the assessments to work with those communities,” he said. he declared. mentioned.
“Because it’s really important that we own the issues and understand that there are real issues.”
Real problems already known to these Te Rarawa descendants in Mitimiti.
“Between here and the next valley, there’s going to be a sea level rise, so we could possibly bring some manuhiri back through waka, like they did before,” Bercich said.
“We have to make changes and it has to be quick,” added Simone.
You you kupu, you you mana, you you whenua. The meaning of this proverb is that without Maori language, prestige and land, Maori culture will cease to exist.
The fight is on to save the earth.
This article is part of public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air.