Upcoming webinar: Living at the water’s edge


Climate-safe ground for papakāinga and coastal communities

Image showing a family on a gravel beach and the details for the webinar event as text

In collaboration with Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, we bring you this online kōrero with Marama Pohatu (Muriwhenua Inc.), Akuhata Bailey-Winiata (Waikato University) and Tom Logan (University of Canterbury).

Most of Aotearoa’s marae and papakāinga are built along the coast or by flood-prone rivers. Climate change – like other historical upheaval – threatens to separate some of us from our papakāinga. But the concept of “managed retreat” – where whānau are supposed to leave hazardous areas and “start again” on safer ground – doesn’t sit well with people whose relationships stretch backwards and forwards over centuries.

These three speakers, including hapū-based researcher Marama Pohatu, are bringing many different kinds of knowledge to the complex question of where and how to live when our homes and marae are at risk from the rising sea.

Bringing together mapping tools, planning tools and the tikanga and mātauranga of kui koro mā, we can learn more about climate impacts and future decisions than by relying on one knowledge system alone. These researchers also celebrate the vital role of ahikā, and communities in general, in designing and implementing appropriate climate decisions that uphold mana motuhake.

“It’s gathering the voice first, because that’s the most important for the community and unpacking where might it be located in relation to work places, in relation to main highways, accessing amenities, necessities for life.”

Marama Pohatu

This critical conversation, part of our He Kawa o te Ora webinar series, will be co-hosted by Naomi Simmonds and Kate Turner. A recording of this webinar will be available on our YouTube channel soon after. Please subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date.


Akuhata Bailey-Winiata

Akuhata Bailey-Winiata is a scientist with whakapapa to Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Tūwharetoa. Akuhata’s MSc investigated the potential exposure of coastal marae and urupā to the impacts of sea level rise around Aotearoa. His PhD, at the University of Waikato and funded through the Resilience to Nature's Challenges, aims to co-develop with coastal Māori communities a decolonised managed retreat process.

Marama Pohatu

Marama Pohatu is the Chairperson of Muriwhenua Incorporation, with whakapapa to Ngāti Kuri, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahu, and Te Aupouri. In Marama’s role as chairperson she is leading He whakaneke a te hapori o Te Hāpua ki tētahi ara haumaru: Relocating Te Hāpua to safety as sea levels rise. In this research, the collective iwi of Te Hāpua and of Muriwhenua Incorporation are drawing on the knowledge of their living kaumātua, as well as those who have passed on, to create a proactive climate adaptation plan. This plan will examine the possibilities for, and the tikanga surrounding, relocation. 

Tom Logan

Tom Logan is a Lecturer in Civil Systems Engineering at the University of Canterbury. He studies the risk to and resilience of urban systems with a focus on transforming how we design our cities in the face of climate change. He uses risk science, systems engineering, modelling and statistics to consider how our cities and towns might adapt.