Climate change is the challenge of our lifetime. It is affecting communities worldwide.
At Te Pā o Moki, we are already seeing the impacts. With the whenua continually being threatened by rising sea levels and flooding, familiar places such as our marae and our hapūa, Te Waihora, may become unrecognisable. Already, the way in which we interact with our taonga place has changed.
To anticipate the effects and prepare our hapū, it is important to understand how climate change works, its impact on our people and whenua, what we are doing about it, and what still needs to be done to mitigate and adapt.
This is how we have known Te Pā o Moki to date, a place to share kai, wānanga and many treasured times with whānau. Not to forget, Hone Wetere, our beautiful Church. Whānau have gathered here many times to celebrate hononga and Christmas over the years.
The effects of climate change are putting our taonga at risk. Our church, marae and wetlands have been flooded by rising groundwater. These events are becoming more frequent and more severe.
That’s why we need to get clued up on climate change. We need to know what’s happening, why, and make plans for how we can adapt and mitigate the impacts.
We need to know more about climate change. What is happening and why? We need a plan for how we can adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Climate change refers to the heating of earth’s average temperatures and is caused by the build-up of gases in the atmosphere. These gases are created by the use of fossil fuels like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Although these gases are natural, human activity has accelerated their release, causing the earth to heat at a faster rate.
Our lifestyle in Aotearoa New Zealand relies on activities that release these gases. For example, driving cars and the transportation of consumer goods, burning coal for power, the production of plastics, and also farming animals’ that excrete waste. Almost every aspect of our lives involves increased uses of fossil fuels with very few sustainable ways to lessen damage. As these fossil fuels remain in our atmosphere, they act as a blanket around the earth, trapping heat from the sun causing temperatures to rise.
The average global temperature has warmed over 1 degree since pre-industrial times in the 18th Century, and is projected to increase by 3 and a half degrees Celsius by 2070. Although it may seem small, this change in the climate has dramatic impacts on ocean temperatures, ecosystems and weather patterns.
With warmer summers and milder winters, Aotearoa’s glaciers and ice at the North and South Pole will continue to melt, and at increasingly fast rates. As the ice melts, sea levels will continue to rise. Current estimates suggest that ocean levels may increase 1.67 metres by 2100 and over 14 metres by 2300.
The impacts of climate change are already affecting us. Many whānau will know about our challenges with flooding at the marae as sea levels rise. Rising temperatures and rising seas will create more challenges than just flooding:
The key impacts of climate change for our Takiwā and whānau include –
For our Marae and Church
For our Urupa and Wetlands
Food sources from water (moana kai)
Lake health / Te Waihora
Freshwater (including mahinga kai)
Let’s take a look at some of taonga in more depth
Te Pā o Moki
Climate change means that our marae has increasingly been affected by flooding from rising groundwater and sea level rise, we have lost significant sites close to the moana. Te Pā o Moki has been a fundamental place for the surrounding tangata for generations; a place for Tamariki days, tangi, wānanga, the sharing of kai and a place to connect with our heritage. We hope to pass these traditions onto our tamariki, but we know that the location will need to be adapted as the climate changes.
Te Waihora & Mahinga Kai
Taumutu has historically traded and provided kai to manuhiri and whānau all across Te Waipounamu. For generations, the whenua around the marae has been used for mahinga kai, especially Te Waihora. Today however, Te Waihora is Aotearoa’s most polluted lake, and farming practices have contributed to this. Along with climate change, rising water temperatures will continue to change how we gather mahinga kai. Climate change will affect more than just warming the earth’s temperatures and causing seas to rise. Warmer water will create uncertainty for taonga species like tuna, kanakana, pātiki and inanga, if they are not able to adapt, their populations will struggle and decline.
Furthermore, rising seas and more unstable weather will give way to coastal erosion, meaning Te Waihora may become an estuary to the ocean and could alter what species call Te Waihora, home. Coastal erosion will also affect our access to the beach and coastal plants like the Pingao grass, home to Aotearoa’s only native poisonous spider, the katipō. We may also lose other taonga like our urupā, wetlands and church. Although we can relocate some of our taonga, this will be a long and costly process.
We are developing a climate change strategy and adaptation plan. You shared your views and vision at the climate wānanga in May. As a result, we have drafted a strategy.
Please continue sharing your views and ideas. To do so, click here to access our climate Padlet. Watch the video below for instructions on how to use the Padlet.
If you would prefer to review the documents in person, please contact Faye White at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 371 2660.