Adapting Aotearoa webinar series

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17 October 2023

Towards a climate resilient land and food system

Ahead of the Adapting Aotearoa symposium (Monday 20 November in Ōtautahi Christchurch), we are hosting two preliminary webinar events to get us all thinking and talking about climate adaptation in our food and farming sectors.

The symposium is brought to you by the Deep South Challenge in collaboration with Resilience to Nature’s Challenges and Our Land and Water, and will explore innovative solutions for building climate resilience and deeper understanding of the urgency for adaptation in our agricultural practices. 

Join us at our lead-in webinars to hear from scientists conducting some of the latest research on climate change impacts in the primary sector – the issues, and the opportunities. Don’t miss your chance to hit the symposium with a shared understanding of what our primary sector and food systems are facing, and a building excitement for the work ahead, as we all adapt and thrive together.

These webinars are open to all, and will be recorded. 

Webinar 1: Climate change impacts in the primary sector

Tuesday 7 November, 12pm – 1pm

(this event has passed, recording will be available soon)
Pierre Beukes, Farm Systems Modelling Team Leader, DairyNZ

Pierre will share the results of using NIWA climate projections for the rest of this century for the upper North Island (Waikato and Northland) and lower South Island (Edendale district in Southland) to model the potential impacts of climate change on ryegrass persistence, pasture growth rates and annual yields, and how these may affect farm performance in these regions.

Kathryn McRae, senior scientist, AgResearch

Predicting disease risks for sheep farmers in a changing NZ climate

Heather Craig, lecturer in Disaster Risk & Resilience, University of Canterbury

Heather’s presentation will explore the exposure and impacts to dairy farms in Aotearoa from climate change-driven sea level rise and extreme events.

Webinar 2: Adaptation in the primary sector

Monday 13 November, 12pm – 1pm

Richard Fitzgerald, General Manager of Enviro Collective Ltd

Supporting land-use adaption for a climate changed future: A regional cross-sector approach

Christina Griffin, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Drawing on data collected through a period of in-depth research with dairy farmers in the lower South Island and Waikato region of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Christina will discuss some of the barriers and enablers of climate change adaptation on dairy farms. She will discuss how values, local context and perceptions of fairness influence the uptake of adaptation activities, and how different farming groups and identities approach and understand adaptation differently. 

Nick Cradock-Henry, Principal Social Scientist, GNS Science

Navigating future uncertainty in the primary sector

Webinar Speakers

Heather Craig

University of Canterbury

Heather is a lecturer at the University of Canterbury – Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha in the Disaster Risk & Resilience programme. She completed a PhD in Hazard and Disaster Management in 2015 which focussed on quantifying agricultural vulnerability to volcanic ashfall. Heather has worked as a Hazard and Risk Analyst at NIWA and as a Senior Hazard Advisor role at the Waikato Regional Council. Heather’s research interests include: risk reduction through policy and planning; the application of risk assessment tools for improved emergency management; agricultural and environmental vulnerability function development; and the development of adaptation strategies with an emphasis on user engagement and participation in the rural space.

Pierre Beukes


I've been with DairyNZ for 21 years in the Farm Systems Modelling team based in Hamilton. I'm a Senior Scientist and Modelling team leader. My passion is using models to answer farmer questions that are hard and expensive to answer with traditional methods.

Kathryn McRae


Kathryn McRae is a Senior Scientist in the Animal Genomics team at AgResearch. Her farming background, coupled with her interest in genetics, led her to complete a Master of Science in genetics with the University of Otago in collaboration with AgResearch. Subsequently, she graduated with a PhD from Dublin City University as a Teagasc Walsh Fellow, before returning to work at AgResearch. Her primary research interest is understanding the genetic basis of disease and welfare traits in livestock, including gastrointestinal nematode infection and respiratory disease. The goal of this research is to breed healthy, productive animals that are more resilient to external stressors.

Richard Fitzgerald

Enviro Collective Ltd

Richard's career has focused on enabling farmer-to-farmer learning to bring about positive change. This has extended from establishing youth capability development programmes within NZ Young Farmers as the Chief Executive, to designing the Red Meat Profit Partnership Programme Action Network and Farm Plus Programmes, as the Extension Design Manager. While studying innovation adoption while on his Nuffield Scholarship, he saw firsthand the importance of working within farm systems to build confidence and knowledge amongst farmers to enable them to initiate change where they see the need and opportunity. Richard firmly believes that this approach is well suited to supporting climate change adaption and achieving good environmental practices on farm. He is currently the General Manager of Enviro Collective Ltd, supporting the adoption of advanced mitigation practices on-farm.

Christina Griffin

University of Melbourne

Christina Griffin is a research fellow with the University of Melbourne. She is a qualitative human geographer whose research interests lie in agrarian change, rural livelihoods, climate change adaptation and natural hazards. She has conducted collaborative research on livelihoods and volcanic disasters in Central Java (Indonesia), climate change and rural development in Sulawesi (Indonesia), and the adaptation of dairy farms in the lower South Island and Waikato region of Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Nick Cradock-Henry

GNS Science

Nick is a Principal Social Scientist in the GNS Science Environmental Social Science team. His research focuses on social-ecological system dynamics, with a particular emphasis on rural landscapes at multiple scales and across several research themes. This includes work on risk and resilience, and the impacts of earthquakes and other hazards on rural communities, agribusinesses and rural value chains (wine, kiwifruit, and dairying); climate change vulnerability and adaptation; and governance for sustainability outcomes. He is Regional Coordinator for the Earth System Governance project, and holds funding from the RSNZ Marsden Fund, Ministry for Primary Industries, and Deep South and Resilience to Nature's Challenges National Science Challenges.

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