Research webinar

Climate-resilient Māori forestry and agriculture

In this seminar, Dr Shawn Awatere, project leader for ‘Climate-resilient forestry & horticulture’, presents research on how East Coast landowners could shift to more sustainable land-use practices and investments, such as reforesting pine forest or sheep and beef farmland with native trees.

Māori within the Waiapu catchment on the East Coast have long-term interests in the land they own and manage. Māori are also heavily invested in primary industries. Projected climate change impacts put these interests at risk. 

Flooding on the East Coast is a constant reminder about the threat of erosion, which will get worse with changing climate. 

To help landowners reduce the risks of increased erosion under climate change, and to maximise their revenue, this project used kaupapa Māori, bio-physical and economic assessment tools to understand and evaluate different land-use decisions.

Alongside landowners, the project identified multiple land-use opportunities with a range of social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits. These included alternative forestry (mānuka, kānuka, tōtara, mataī, puriri, harakeke and kawakawa), horticulture (including honey, olives and olive oil, lemons and hemp) and other business options derived from mātauranga Māori.

Re-foresting the land – particularly with indigenous species – will result in a significant reduction of soil erosion for the Waiapu catchment. Significantly, afforestation would also help realise the core values and aspirations of Māori landowners, which include kaitiakitanga (sustainable resource management), manaakitanga (reciprocal obligations) and whakatipu rawa (growing the asset base).

The seminar presents recommendations for governance arrangements in Te Tairāwhiti, policy recommendations (including for the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Gisborne District Council), recommendations for Māori landowners, and recommendations for working with Māori to address climate issues. 


Climate-resilient forestry & horticulture