Research Project

Innovations for climate adaptation

Climate change adaptation is an unprecedented challenge for mana whenua and local authorities. Many feel uncertain and unsupported because there is little guidance as to the range of management and governance changes that will be needed. In spite of this, some are “just doing it”, experimenting and innovating for more just and robust adaptation decision-making. This project is learning from these innovators.

This project will produce a toolbox of effective governance and management approaches, drawing primarily from the innovations of three mana whenua organisations and seven local authorities in Taranaki, the Bay of Plenty and Otago. We are particularly interested in:

  • Changes to organisational arrangements within organisations
  • Changes to governance arrangements between organisations

Our research will track these initiatives over time and listen to multiple perspectives on what works and what doesn’t, and why.

We are particularly invested in understanding the inclusiveness and equity implications of different approaches, and which of them supports the realisation of rangatiratanga in climate adaptation. We will engage more widely with hapū and iwi, and with local authorities, to understand if and how our findings might be useful and relevant, and to share insights.

Using a “just and robust” lens drawn both from literature and learning with research partners, we will develop recommendations for the governance and management of climate adaptation initiatives.

How will this research be used:

  • To inform legal and policy reform and to identify opportunities for a more facilitative governance regime.
  • By communities to develop their own adaptation initiatives.

Who we are engaging with:

  • Regional and district councils
  • Mana whenua organisations 
  • Government agencies

In the media: