Tautoro - situated 12 kilometres south of the township of Kaikohe - is epitomised by the steep and high flat-topped volcanic cone of maunga Tauanui on the northern flanks of the Mangakahia Ranges. Together, maunga Tauanui and maunga Tautoro (463 meters) form part of the Kaikohe-Bay of Islands Volcanic District. The lava flow from maunga Tauanui – called the third Tāheke Basalt Flow - is one of the longest basalt lava flows in the region, where, from its source it moved and moulded its way through the Tautoro valley and ended near Horeke at the Hokianga Harbour.
The soils in the area surrounding the volcano are immensely fertile terrain for agriculture and for many generations have been the homeland for several interconnected hapū including Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Moerewa, Ngāti Whakahotu, Ngāti Kiriahi, Te Ngāre Hauata, Te Whānau Whero and Ngāi Tawake.
Their settlements were based here in testament to the area’s waterways and fertile ground - from which they derived cultural and economic benefit. With their deep ties to whenua and wai and their reliance on mahinga kai, eeling and wild food gathering - hapū are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Now, community members are stepping up to educate themselves and others identify the impacts and ensure resilience in the face of local change. Devising and adopting locally tuned climate action plans can help whānau protect their way of life.
WHAT THE TAUTORO COMMUNITY THINKS ABOUT THE CLIMATE CRISIS: OUR ENVIRONMENT SURVEY 2022
In May and June 2022, Project Kāinga researchers Dr Stephen McTaggart and Dr Raaniera Te Whata conducted an online survey with members of the Tautoro community. We asked about the local environment and climate change and got many great responses on the attitudes and behaviours of the community.
The results of the first Tautoro climate and environment action survey expressed a wide variety of views from a small sample size. Several recurring themes emerged, but key among them is the importance of water, its protection, availability and community access to it, with climate change already causing more severe droughts and floods in the region.
The data analysis is complete, and consideration of the implications of the findings is ongoing. The survey results will inform how the community focuses on their environment and adapts to change through a Tautoro Kāinga Plan.
Key to adaptation and how the community holistically responds to the challenges ahead is local leadership. An exploration of what and how a formal environmental advisory committee and leadership group for Tautoro ought to look like is underway, with community members playing a role in designing the framework. Meaningful participation in local resource management and collaborative partnerships of marae and tangata whenua with local governments and businesses are key mandates for this organisation.