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Maori concerned about latest climate change report: Authority Chair says retreating not an option

Flooding at Matatā on the Awatarariki fanhead

Maori concerned about latest climate change report: Authority Chair says retreating is simply not an option for many

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has said the Authority is extremely concerned with the reports that Aotearoa has less time than we thought when it comes to rising sea levels and climate change. The major new projections show infrastructure and homes in Auckland and Wellington - as well as many other places - risk inundation decades earlier than expected. Tukaki has said that implications for Maori and Maori infrastructure is going to be significant and noted that much of Maori infrastructure is in locations where sea level rises will see inundation:

“The reality is that much of Maori infrastructure is based around our coastal areas – that includes our Marae, urupa, kohanga and kura. Maori small business and agribusiness. In all reality New Zealand was settled on the coast and around river mouths – and that includes Maori before European settlement. Our culture and tikanga is based around these places and our tupuna are buried in these locations” Tukaki said

“There is already discussion arising about retreating from the coast but where do Hapu and Iwi go who’s lands are very much on the coast? Does this change the nature potentially of future settlements? What happens to our infrastructure? Do we move Marae like we move our houses? What do we do about our housing infrastructure? Or do we need a plan that is build in new infrastructure to protect what we have? It all says to me we need a Maori led plan for Maori” Tukaki said

“Then there is the work we need to ramp up in respect of future native species protection and that includes flora and fauna. Because its not just humans its also our animal and plant species.” Tukaki says

Tukaki who comes from Matakana Island off the coast of Tauranga, has said that for him its also very personal:

“By all accounts Matakana Island will be inundated and night be gone for good. That means we will need to deal with that place to stand, our Turangawaewae, will be gone. The only way in the years ahead that will I will be able to visit my ancestors is by jumping on a boat and fixing my GPS to where the urupa used to be – which by then might be underway. Or our Marae.” Tukaki said


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