Adapting Aotearoa

Banner image showing the climate stripes and the title: Adapting Aotearoa - towards a climate resilient land and food system

Adapting Aotearoa: Towards a climate resilient land and food system

Brought to you by the Deep South Challenge in collaboration with Resilience to Nature’s Challenges and Our Land and Water, this unique event brings together researchers and stakeholders from the primary sector, academia and government to explore innovative solutions for building climate resilience and deeper understanding of the urgency for adaptation in our agricultural practices. 

Discover the latest research findings and practical approaches aimed at creating a sustainable and resilient primary sector and food system in the face of climate change challenges. Engage in thought-provoking discussions, and networking opportunities for enduring connection, collaboration and knowledge exchange. 

The role of the National Science Challenges has been to bridge the gap between research and practice, empowering our communities to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing climate. Don’t miss this invaluable opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future for our land, food, and livelihoods.

Join us for an exciting and informative symposium on 20 November 2023, at the Christchurch Town Hall – Please note this event has reached it’s capacity. If you would like to register interest still, click through the registration link and share your details. Thank you.


Click the + to expand each section.

9.30 am | Welcome and opening address

Our event MC Andy Reisinger will welcome us to the day followed by an opening address by Anne Haira.

Andy Reisinger

Andy Reisinger

Andy is Commissioner with the Climate Change Commission. Andy was also Deputy Director (International) at the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, working in partnership with industry to develop and extend ways of reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Andy was until recently a member of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and served as coordinating lead author in two major IPCC climate change reports. His research focuses on the role of agriculture in domestic and international climate change policy, climate change impacts and adaptation, and on uncertainty and its implications for decision-making.

Anne Haira

Anne has had a rich and diverse career spanning the public and private sectors and has developed a strong track record of building strategic partnerships. She is part of the executive leadership team at MfE where she leads the Climate Policy division and Partnerships and Public Affairs division. A core focus of her role as leader of Partnerships and Public Affairs is to tangibly shift mindsets and change behaviours in New Zealand through effective partnering and engagement within the public and private sectors.

9.50 am | Key notes

Lauren Rickards will address the urgency and complexity in adaptation with insightful perspectives from Australia, followed by Rod Oram on global context and perspectives.

Lauren Rickards

Lauren Rickards is a human geographer and ecologist by training now working primarily on climate change futures and related questions about the urban-rural and human-nature relationship. With degrees from the Universities of Oxford and Melbourne, and experience in the private sector, Lauren conducts research on many of the social dimensions of climate change, particularly in the water and agri-food sectors and with collaborators in other disciplines and organisations. Lauren advises a wide range of groups in government, business and the NGO sector on climate change issues and is a Lead Author with the Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change. She is currently the Director of the La Trobe University Climate Change Adaptation Lab.

Rod Oram

Rod Oram (1950-2024)

Rod Oram had more than 40 years’ experience as an international business journalist. He was a frequent public speaker on deep sustainability, business, economics, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, in both NZ and global contexts.

Rod was a founding trustee of Akina Foundation, which helps social enterprises develop their business models in areas of sustainability. Sadly, Rod passed away in March 2024, in the months following his talk at Adapting Aotearoa.

10:40 am | Morning tea

Enjoy a light kai and a chance to digest the mornings discussions.

11:00 am | Panel: Enabling transformational adaptation in the primary sector: Possible, Plausible, Preferable?

Are there limits to adaptation in Aotearoa? Is it plausible: and if so, what is stopping us? And just what IS the future we want? A series of experts will present short talks on hot topics before being joined by Lauren Rickards and Rod Oram for a robust panel discussion on the challenges of enabling effective adaptation.

Nick Cradock Henry headshot

Nicholas Cradock-Henry

Nicholas Cradock-Henry is the Principal Social Scientist with GNS Science and Co-leader, Resilience, Policy & Governance for Resilience to Nature’s Challenges. He received his PhD in Geography from the University of Canterbury (2011), and holds a Masters of Environmental Science and post-graduate diploma in Geographic Information Systems. His doctoral research investigated adaptation to climate change and other, non-climatic stressors in agricultural systems in eastern New Zealand.

John Reid 

John (Ngāti Pikiao; Tainui) leads research programmes attempting to solve complex socio-economic problems by utilising systems thinking and indigenous wisdom traditions. John’s programmes bring together science, industry, and indigenous communities to address sustainability challenges related to New Zealand’s oceans, freshwater, land and biodiversity.

Jenny Christie

Jenny is the Principal Scientist Climate Impacts at the Ministry for the Environment. She has an extensive background in climate adaptation at a central government level, having worked previously for the Department of Conservation and  was responsible for developing their adaptation and research plans.

12:15 pm | Lunch

Earth-friendly kai from some of our best local producers.

1:15 pm | Panel discussions: Adaptation in action – using research to adapt and transform?

Headshot of Jo Sheridan

Jo Sheridan

Jo Sheridan is the Demonstration Manager at Owl Farm and has over 20 years’ experience in the dairy industry – farming, consulting, and working in education and extension projects. Owl Farm is a 140ha dairy farm at St Peter’s School Cambridge on the banks of the Waikato river, with a strong focus on achieving environmental outcomes while maintaining a sustainable balanced business. Jo’s role is to collect and interpret the farm data and evolve the strategy along with industry partners to ensure business resilience. More at www.owlfarm.nz.

Kate Acland

Kate is the Director of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. Kate and husband David own and operate Mt Somers Station, a large and highly diversified farming operation running sheep, cattle, deer, dairy and a stand-alone honey operation in the Mid Canterbury foothills.

Tasman Gillies

Tasman (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Wheke, Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Programme Director at Toha, exploring data & collaboration tech strategies to surface climate change & biodiversity action.

Hilton Collier

Hilton Collier (Ngati Porou) is an experienced Farm Management Consultant whose professional career has supported landowners in Te Tairawhiti to develop and better manage their lands.

2:15 pm | Future directions

A brainstorming session to ensure we have captured questions that haven’t been answered, gaps in knowledge and research, contradictions and paradoxes, and to explore some practical options for change in your every day work. We come back together to close the day and set intentions for the future.

3:15 pm | Afternoon tea

Enjoy a pick-me-up before our final panel discussion.

3:30 pm | Panel discussions: Incentivising action

Jack Bisset

Jack is leading on the strategy aspects of the climate-related disclosure standards for the External Reporting Board (XRB). Jack has been working in climate policy for the last 5 years including work on macroeconomic modelling, emissions trading, sustainable finance and climate-related disclosures.

Karen Lavin potrait

Karen Lavin

Karen has more than 15 years’ experience working at the science-policy interface on a range of issues relating to climate change and the environment. She is currently the Adaptation Manager at He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission, and is focused on establishing the Commission’s independent adaptation and monitoring functions.

Head shot Tim Henshaw

Tim Henshaw

Tim has been the Head of Agribusiness at Westpac since 2020. In this role, he oversees all on farm lending to this key sector of the New Zealand economy.

Trecia Smith

Trecia is the Chief Policy Adviser to the Deputy Director-General, Policy and Trade at the Ministry for Primary Industries.

4.35-5:30pm | Refreshments

We invite you to enjoy refreshments and some more casual kōrero.

Setting the scene

Check out our Adapting Aotearoa info sheet for links and explainers about all the research relevant to our symposium, conveniently collected in one place! Also, you can find recordings of the two lead-in webinars at the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges YouTube page, here.

Growing Kai Under Increasing Dry

This report details how climate change and drought will increasingly impact primary production over the coming decades. While adaptation won’t be easy, the benefits are unquestionable and will ensure economic viability of primary production is protected, as well as farmers’ mental health, and the environment.

Climate, water and wine

Research into how primary industries must adapt to multiple interacting and compounding pressures. Apart from climate change, the industry presents management challenges, complicated decision making and, in some cases, accelerating system-wide transformation.

Whitiwhiti Ora data supermarket

The supermarket is free, and is stocked full of datasets that provide a broad understanding of the benefits and consequences of a wide range of land use opportunities. Each dataset includes information about its limitations and how the data was produced, and most include GIS layers. The information can be downloaded for use in third-party tools. Data is open-access and suitable for New Zealand use only.

Agri-Sector Climate Change Scenarios

Farmers, growers and producers are experiencing first hand the devastation of increasing extreme weather events. The development of these climate change scenarios by the Aotearoa Circle provides consistent data for the sector who are seeking to mitigate and adapt and will serve as the basis for the Agri-Adaptation Roadmap.

Primary sector preparedness for climate change

Research into the rapid and slow-onset climate changes to the primary sector: evaluating the role and cost of adaptation on resilience.

Symposium report

A report on the Adapting Aotearoa: Towards A Climate Resilient Land and Food System symposium brought to you by the Deep South National Science Challenge in collaboration with Resilience to Nature’s Challenges and Our Land and Water National Science Challenges.

This report is dedicated to the memory of climate advocate and journalist Rod Oram. Rod sadly passed away a few months after his challenging and through-provoking talk at Adapting Aotearoa. Rest in peace, Rod, and thank you for your relentless efforts to champion the facts about climate change.