June 28, 2022

On 11 June in Rotorua, around 20 Kāinga leaders, PHD students and researchers met to discuss progress on developing Kāinga Plans. Three particular outcomes were:

  1. Community leaders from each iwi (kāinga) meeting and sharing ideas;

  2. Each community identifying how they are addressing the challenges of climate change including identifying environmental, cultural and economic priorities;

  3. Community leaders identifying what is needed to achieve cultural, economic, and environmental resilience (human skills, resources, relationships etc). They also identified the leadership skills and leadership mixes that are needed, as well as how to engage the majority of descendants who live away from marae/kāinga in problem solving and in participating in leadership capacities towards developing Kāinga Plans.


Collectively, we workshopped two key issues: Kāinga Plan development and Leadership. We had two guiding questions for each of these topics:

Kaupapa Kāinga

  1. What are some of the internal or external challenges that relate to seeing the Kāinga Plans develop? 

  2. What are some of the positive outcomes that Kāinga share between them? 

Kāinga Leadership

  1. What are the internal leadership challenges being experienced by each community?

  2. What would a leadership model look like to oversee transformation for a kāinga to deal with climate change problems through developing and implementing a Kainga Plan?


Presentation: Peter Fraser

We also had engrossing presentations:  one from economist Peter Fraser who discussed the predicament of kāinga in climate change terms as a result of a longer period of colonisation. He set out some basic ideas, assumptions and challenges including:

  • The contemporary challenge is by surpassing natural limits at a planetary level we are now in over shoot: we either stop burning fossil fuels or we go extinct.

    • Simple reality is we can’t replace inanimate energy consumption with ‘renewables’

      • Problems of EROEI and saleability

      • Potentially a 75% decrease in energy consumption

      • But this is not evenly distributed – so a significant equity issue here along the lines of donut economics.

    • So, if no growth in energy use there is no economic growth – that’s history

    • So, looking at falling GDP – and that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.

  • So, how do we reconcile manaakitanga of people with kaitiakitanga of the Taiao: given that people are an intrinsic part of te Taiao?



  • We’re at the tail end of European colonisation and post the Industrial Revolution

    • Meat and dairy are essentially the uri of cotton, sugar, tea, and coffee.

  • NZ’s economic history, post European colonisation, is [therefore] typified by two key trends:

    • Cashing in our natural capital; and

    • Asset stripping our indigenous people.

  • Traditionally, kāinga were a means to achieve good living standards based on low energy inputs: the question is whether such structures – reimagined for the second quarter of the 21st century – in both rural and urban settings – can act as a means to reconcile manaakitanga with kaitiakitanga?

  • So, rather than being some type of alternative lifestyle commune, kāinga may represent a serious adaptation opportunity – and rebuild an economy based primarily on serving local needs.


Presentation: Paul Tapsell

Paul Tapsell also spoke about the role of taonga as critical cultural tools to help guide kāinga in responding to climate change asking and responding to: what precedents and values do taonga embody that may aid us into the future?

In addition to the opportunity of taonga for addressing climate change from a marae values perspective, Paul also spoke about the opportunity of Whenua Tōpu Trusts, a legal entity that may be established through the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993. Like Ahu Whenua Trusts, but more encompassing of hapū members, it promotes the use and administration of Māori land (and all on/in those lands whether they include forests, wetlands, marae etc) for the benefit of hapū or iwi, irrespective of whether individuals have a beneficial interest in those lands. It therefore helps to reconnect kin community members to their ancestral landscapes even if they do not have a specific ‘title’ interest. From this cultural baseline of reconnection, it then makes engagement for those lands and people more enabled and possible. More specific issues or challenges like climate change can then be formulated and addressed through such entities. It is therefore a place-based leadership solution, recombining tāngata with whenua.


The hui was full of captivating kōrero, highly engaged workshop sessions and much inspiration, all of which supports the power of kāinga to deal with climate change. 

Come back to our website soon as we will be uploading notes and findings from this hui shortly. We will also be holding 6 monthly hui like these over the duration of Project Kāinga.  Watch this space!

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