Research Project

Exploring coastal adaptation pathways for Tangoio Marae

Serious games to help climate adaptation decisions

Deeper engagement and interdisciplinary approaches are needed if Māori communities are to move forward with climate adaptation. We need to make sure that the knowledge held by scientists, environmental managers and Māori is properly shared, to develop plans that respond to climate change while also meeting community aspirations.

To this end, our project facilitated a decision-making process with coastal hapū from Tangoio Marae in the northern Hawke’s Bay. We co-created a flood adaptation game, Marae-Opoly, to help the hapū of Maungaharuru-Tangitū assess how sea level rise and extreme floods might impact marae assets. To support the hapū’s decision-making process, our project also carried out hydrological and hydrodynamic modelling, to identify how the marae might mitigate flood impacts in the future.

Marae-Opoly is a significant development in indigenous participatory decision making. It helps players (and communities) work through uncertain and complex climate change impacts – making trade-offs and developing strategies for  the future, and assessing how well these strategies have served them. Participants have had a lot of fun playing the game, while working through a  very serious issue.

This decision-making model is of value for other Māori, indigenous and coastal communities who are grappling with climate change and integrating its impacts into their development plans.