Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Climate change concerns raised for Māori health and economy

Michael Sergel in Pacific Scoop (New Zealand): Climate change was top of the agenda at the Pacific Islands Forum last month – and it is an issue that strikes at the heart of the traditions of tikanga Māori across Aotearoa.

More than 10 years of research by Taihoro Nukurangi, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has found the effects of climate change will particularly affect the fishery, agriculture and forestry models that are core to the Māori economy and iwi tradition.

The institute conducted extensive hui consultation with iwi and government agencies on what could be an extremely important issue for the future of Māori society.

University of Auckland Te Kupenga Hauora Māori researcher Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) has also studied the potential impact of climate change – focusing on the impact on hauora, health and wellbeing.

“[Aotearoa] will be relatively insulated from the effects of climate change compared to other Pacific countries – but any impact will be borne disproportionately by Māori, Pacific Islanders and lower socio-economic groups,” he explained.

Children were particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, he claimed. “They are smaller, less able to cope with heat extremes and natural disasters, and spend more time outdoors – and that puts them at greater risk.”...

Tiki shot by Abaconda Management Group, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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