WEBINAR: Toitū te Whenua

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22 August 2023

Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua

As people disappear from sight, the land remains

This whakataukī speaks to the importance of land. With the ever-increasing challenges brought on by climate change we look to our past and the lessons left behind by our tīpuna to ensure the whenua remains for generations to come.

Natural hazards and climate change pose a significant threat to the cultural identity and well-being of Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand. This webinar brings together researchers and PhD students from across Resilience to Nature’s Challenges National Science Challenge who are exploring mātauranga Māori and modern approaches to adaptation and marae resilience in the face of such challenges.

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, nau mai ki tēnei wānanga whakahirahira, ‘toitu te whenua’.

Wednesday 6 September, 10.30am-12noon

Webinar Presentations

Adaptation of pā to climate change – “Business as usual”

Adaptation in response to environmental and social changes is embedded in the fabric of Māori communities. This includes when our tūpuna navigated from Hawaiki to Aotearoa, through to the responses to Cyclone Gabrielle and will continue with the impacts of climate change. Adaptation is and will be ‘business as usual’ for many pā. In this kōrero, I will share a story of resilience and adaptation of my iwi Tūhourangi and whānau of Ngāti Rangitihi following their relocation after the 1886 Tarawera eruption. The lessons learnt following this event provide lessons in adaptation to help us plan to look after our pā and people with climate change.

Investigating marae infrastructure resilience in natural hazard events

The precarious exposure of marae to natural hazards and climate change pose a significant threat to the cultural identity and well-being of Māori communities across Aotearoa New Zealand. Marae geographical positioning presents a considerable natural hazard risk, amplified by climate change impacts. Despite their pivotal role in recent hazard event response, a large number of marae lack the necessary resources, support, and infrastructure to adequately prepare for and respond to these events, underpinning the research need. This research evaluates the vulnerability and resilience of marae infrastructure in the face of natural hazards and climate change across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Preserving Our Cultural Heritage: The Role of Archaeology in Studying and Recording Sites Before They Are Lost to Sea Level Rise

Sea-level rise and changing wave patterns are expected to have a significant impact on Aotearoa’s coast in the coming century and beyond. This webinar will explore how archaeologists are using modern methods to study coastal archaeological sites in Aotearoa in the face of sea level rise, and what we can learn from the past to prepare for the future.

The presentation will also cover the following topics:

  • What is archaeology?
  • Why is archaeology important in the face of climate change?
  • How is sea level rise impacting archaeological sites?
  • What can we learn from the past to prepare for the future?

Webinar Speakers

Akuhata Bailey-Winiata

Te Arawa, Tuwharetoa | PhD Candidate - University of Waikato

After completing a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science at the University of Waikato, Akuhata Bailey-Winiata completed a summer scholarship using GIS (geographic information systems) to map the proximity of marae to the coast and rivers, and look at their elevation, slope and distance to the coast. Realising the impact that this research could have for his people and country, Akuhata embarked on a PhD to understand the exposure of coastal marae and urupā to a rise in sea level and to explore what the best way forward is to address this issue in the best way for Māori.

Haukapuanui Vercoe

Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Raukawa, Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu | PhD Candidate - University of Auckland

An emerging researcher in civil engineering, Haukapuanui Vercoe is focussed on bolstering marae infrastructure resilience against natural hazards and climate change. Currently a PhD candidate at The University of Auckland, his research emphasises the integration of indigenous knowledge with contemporary engineering practices. A product of his time in kōhanga reo (Māori-language pre-school), kura kaupapa Māori (Māori-language immersion school) and marae, Haukapuanui adeptly applies the mātauranga (knowledge) bestowed upon him. His unique lens, drawing from his engineering background and strong cultural grounding, allows him to contribute to and enhance the understanding of research that is particularly relevant to Māori communities.

Tūmanako Fa'aui

Te Arawa, Ngāti Uenukukōpako, Ngāti Whakahemo, Ngāti Te Roro-o-te-Rangi | Lecturer, University of Auckland

Tūmanako Fa'aui is a lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is interested in working at the interface of indigenous knowledge systems, mātauranga Māori and Western engineering, working with whānau, hapū and iwi to develop civil and environmental engineering solutions that address the issues that our peoples face. Recent work has been focused on improving resilience of pā infrastructure to high impact weather and natural hazard events.

Benjamin Jones

PhD Candidate - University of Auckland

Ben Jones is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. His research focuses on how sea level rise is impacting coastal archaeological sites in Aotearoa at a national, regional, and local scale. His presentation will be of interest to anyone who is concerned about the impact of climate change on cultural heritage on Aotearoa's coast, or who is interested in learning more about archaeology.

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