Topic: Environment

Native Affairs - Who Will Save Our Whenua?

By Peata Melbourne
  • Northland

Waitangi’s Te Tii Marae, along with and many other coastal marae could all be under water by 2050.

Climate change scientists are predicting a three-metre sea level rise in the next 30 or so years, combine that with surge storms, and much of New Zealand's coastlines and waterside infrastructures will be left under water.

But iwi leaders’ group climate change spokesperson Tina Porou says iwi are facing a plethora of issues, and the work that the Government does is focused on coastal areas with high property value excluding Māori communities.

“Even though we are on the coast, even though we are least resilient to climate change that kind of prioritisation of the Governments’ focus is not coming to us,” says Porou.

Environmentalist Mike Smith agrees and believes as long as Government continue to shelve documents like the recently leaked climate change report from the Ministry for the Environment, these issues won’t improve for Māori communities living near water.

“I wouldn’t wait for the Government to come riding over the hills on their white horse to save Māori communities, I think it’s up to us to start the process of doing the risk assessments, to do the audits, and we’ve got to look at our land for our people, most can tell you which lands are going to go underwater,” says Smith.