Local Focus: Te Arawa strikes back on climate change

Local Focus: Te Arawa strikes back on climate change

New Zealand

A partnership between local iwi and Rotorua Lakes Council combating climate change. Made with funding from NZ On Air.

Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa Lakes Trust are working together to reduce the impact of climate change on the Rotorua region.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work as a council in this space for quite some time, and many of our partners too, have also been doing work in this area,” senior strategic advisor Niki Carling said.

“The Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy is another document that captures the sort of work that’s been happening in this space.”

The Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy will soon go out for consultation outlining the key priorities.

Te Arawa iwi community researcher Lani Kereopa said making the most of the natural resources was a vital part of the project for the iwi and the people in Rotorua’s oldest Māori village.

“Within Ōhinemutu here you’ve got families who sit on top of geothermal who are using gas heaters to heat their homes.

“The iwi have started to talk about how can we support our families, our hapū and the wider Rotorua community to use the geothermal resource that we’re sitting on more efficiently, more fairly, more equitably.”

Kereopa said it was important to maintain close working relationships with local and central government.

“Work with councils and local government towards putting down community bores where the cost for families, for any families, is just to connect up to those community bores and the cost of maintaining and putting those bores down, falls on council.”

Sustaining the way of life for many in the region was a critical part of the plan.

“An alliance that’s currently being formed between Te Arawa Iwi, Department of Conservation and Bay of Plenty Regional Council to access some of that Jobs For Nature funding locally, and then looking at what whānau, hapū and iwi projects we can get to help people to keep their jobs but also to do some of the biodiversity work that needs to be done locally.”

Kereopa said the iwi was already preparing for the impact climate change was having on the environment.

“We need to work closely with local government and national government because we’re inland.

“A lot of the focus is on sea level rise and infrastructure around the coastlines, particularly around Wellington. We know that a lot of the resource from government will be going to those priority areas they’ve identified on the coastlines, but because we’re surrounded by water here in the central North Island, we’re also going to feel some of those impacts.”

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