Our Kāhui Māori to protect and guide Antarctic as well as climate adaptation research


The Deep South Challenge: Changing with our Climate is humbled and excited that its Kāhui Māori have agreed to share their knowledge with the Antarctic Science Platform, and to act as its Kāhui Māori (Māori advisory group) as well.

Kāhui Māori members Sandy Morrison, Darren Ngaru King, Aimee Kaio, Shaun Awatere, Naomi Simmonds and Ruia Aperahama bring an immense amount of experience to this leadership body, and will support both our organisations to be and do better for Māori communities, including Māori researchers.

The Deep South Challenge, while increasingly focussed on climate impacts in Aotearoa, and on supporting communities in Aotearoa to adapt to climate change, builds on a core of Antarctic research. Antarctic processes are poorly represented in global climate models, and this continues to be a huge focus of our modelling programme. We are trying to improve our understanding of sea ice, clouds and ocean in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean region.

A foundational research project is also led by Sandy Morrison (University of Waikato), our Vision Mātauranga programme lead, and Chair of the Kāhui Māori. Sandy’s work is uncovering new information about early Polynesian and Māori exploration to the Southern Ocean. Her research supports communities to consider not just our capacity to adapt to new environments, but the tikanga that has always underpinned processes of great change.

The Kāhui Māori is crucial to ensure that the principles of kaupapa Māori research are upheld in our organisations, and support our non-Māori research to improve its practice as well.

Antarctic Science Platform Director Nancy Bertler says the Platform is delighted with the new partnership. “We are privileged to be able to share the Kāhui’s wealth of knowledge and work closely with our friends and colleagues at the Deep South Challenge.”

Sandy Morrison says that with the first Platform hui already completed, the Kāhui is poised to begin discussions on how to ensure Antarctic science is both cognisant of and increasingly grounded in mātauranga Māori.

“Antarctica is a barometer for New Zealand and the globe, in terms of climate change signals and consequences,” Sandy says. “Solving problems as complex as climate change requires multiple knowledges. There is an historic under-representation of Māori in modern research conducted in the Antarctic and Southern Oceans. It is important to raise the status of mātauranga Māori in climate change science, and to incorporate it into discussions about adaptation to climate change. It is also crucial that we uphold the mana of this sacred place.”

Upcoming Sandy Morrison webinar: Māori in Antarctica
On Monday 27 July at 3pm, Sandy Morrison will be presenting a seminar about her Deep South Challenge research, Te Tai Uka a Pia. The research documents Māori narratives of voyaging and gathers together mātauranga around the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, including to inform future adaptation challenges. Register here: