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‘Raise voices, not sea level’

GETTING coastal Maori communities to share their thoughts on climate change is the goal of a campaign launched by the Climate Change Commission He Pou a Rangi on Monday.

The commission launched the new online campaign, 100coastievoices.net, to activate coastal Maori communities to “raise their voices, not the sea level”.

The campaign aims to encourage 100 — or more — “coasties” to provide feedback on the Climate Change Commission's recently released draft report on addressing climate change.

“Our focus is to reach some of the most vulnerable rohe (areas) that will face flooding by the sea and sea-level rise,” Climate Change Commission deputy chair Lisa Tumahai said.

“We are encouraging marae, hapu, iwi and hapori (communities) to use our rohe surveys as tools to get their people engaged in the campaign,” she said.

In Tairawhiti people will travel to the East Coast to take the survey to those in remote coastal areas — places where there might not be internet coverage.

The commission is also working with the Uawa community, Tolaga Bay Area School and local iwi to get the word out about the survey.

People will be on the ground throughout Tairawhiti pushing the survey out in a mixed media approach.

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou chair Selwyn Parata is encouraging Ngati Porou whanau, hapu and iwi to complete the 100coastievoices survey and provide their feedback to the CCC.

“The biggest long-term threat to our environment is global warming caused by human-made emissions of carbon dioxide. Erosion will continue to worsen, affecting our whenua and our ability to farm sustainably.

Earlier in February Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little that the Crown has recognised 14 customary marine title areas within nga rohe moana o nga hapu o Ngati Porou.

“Our takutai moana is the heartbeat of our communities. We are coastal people, which is why many of our marae are located close to the moana. The negative impact of climate change on te ao will have a big impact on our people, especially with rising sea levels.”

Speaking at the national rollout of the survey yesterday, Ms Tumahai said, “Hopefully what we are doing is creating awareness about these issues for our whanau, hapu and iwi,” Ms Tumahai said. A Ngai Tahu and a coastie herself, she is backing the campaign to ensure the benefits of climate action are shared across society. “Climate policies must not further compound historical grievances for Maori. It is vital that Maori provide input into our first draft report of advice to the Government.” Anyone from the public can make a submission during the formal consultation period, using haveyoursay.climatecommission.govt.nz. The consultation runs through to March 14.

Information from the survey will be correlated and turned into a submission that will inform the commission on the work they are doing. “We may gather information that identifies additional things we need to add in our advice to the Minister. It may also give us information that we can use to guide the commission,” Tumahai said.

People will be on the ground throughout Tairawhiti pushing the survey out in a mixed media approach. The commission's recently released report sets three new targets — a 2 percent reduction on 2018 greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, 17 percent by 2030, and 36 percent by 2035.  “The advice we are providing to Government considers how people must be supported through what will be big changes to our coastie way of life,” said Tumahai. Carried out over the past year, the research shows it is possible to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. “It is important that Maori coastal communities have their voice heard,” says Mrs Tumahai. “We recognise that working with Maori authorities to give effect to the Treaty partnership is key to taking immediate and decisive action on climate change.”

100 Coasties: Coastal communities like Waipiro Bay are being asked to raise their voices about climate change by filling in a survey to help inform the work of the Climate Change Commission He Pou a Rangi. Picture by Liam Clayton