IPCC says Maori are not equally represented politically – is climate change a “hot topic” around the iwi and Maori society in general ?

The Christmas leak of IPCC memory sticks to Donna Laframboise has revealed a little 94 page creation on Australasia. Taking a quick skim through I was struck by this marvellous section on “…impacts of climate change on Maori…”.
Kiwis enjoy. I particularly liked – “…inequalities in political representation…” in the last para – and I thought all Kiwis had the vote.
You can download at Anthony Watts – scroll right down to the link to Chapter 25: Australasia – here or here
25.6.10.2. New Zealand Maori

The projected impacts of climate change on Maori society are expected to be highly differentiated reflecting complex economic, social, cultural, environmental and political factors (high confidence). Since 2007, studies have
been either sector specific in their analyses (e.g. Harmsworth et al., 2010; Insley, 2007; Insley and Meade, 2008; King et al., 2012) or more general in scope inferring risk and vulnerability based on exploratory engagements with varied stakeholders and existing social-economic-political and ecological conditions (e.g. King et al., 2010; MfE, 2007b; Te Aho, 2007).

The Maori economy is firmly invested in climate-sensitive primary industries with a range of vulnerabilities to present and future climate conditions (high confidence) (Cottrell et al., 2004; Harmsworth et al., 2010; King and Penny, 2006; King et al., 2010; Nana et al., 2011a; NZIER, 2003; Packman et al., 2001; Tait et al., 2008b; TPK, 2007). Large proportions of Maori owned land (>60%) are steep and hilly and susceptible to damage from high intensity rainstorms and erosion; while low-land plains and terraces are vulnerable to flooding and high sedimentation (Harmsworth and Raynor, 2005; King et al., 2010). Much Maori land in the east and north is drought prone, and this risk is likely to increase uncertainties for future agricultural performance, product quality and investment (medium confidence) (Cottrell et al., 2004; Harmsworth et al., 2010; King et al., 2010). The fisheries sector faces substantial risks (and uncertainties) from rising sea levels, changes in ocean temperature and chemistry, potential changes in species composition, condition and productivity levels (medium confidence) (King et al., 2010).

Maori organisations have developed sophisticated business structures, governance (e.g. trusts, incorporations) and networks (e.g. Iwi leadership groups) across the state and private sectors (Harmsworth et al., 2010; Nana et al., 2011b), which are critical for managing and adapting to future climate change risks and impacts (Harmsworth et al., 2010; King et al., 2012). Some tribal organisations are developing options through joint-ventures and partnerships in response to the New Zealand Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Future opportunities will depend upon collaborative and strategic partnerships in business, science, research and government (Harmsworth et al., 2010; King et al., 2010) (high confidence); as well as innovative technologies and new land management practices to better suit future climates (Carswell et al., 2002; Funk and Kerr, 2007; Harmsworth, 2003; Insley and Meade, 2008; Penny and King, 2010; Tait et al., 2008b).

Maori regularly utilise the natural environment for hunting and fishing, for recreation, the collection of cultural resources, and the maintenance of traditional skills and identity (King et al., 2012; King and Penny, 2006). Many of these are already compromised amidst increasing resource-competition, degradation and modification of the environment (King et al., 2012; Woodward et al., 2001). Climate change driven shifts in natural ecosystems will place further burdens on the capacities of some Maori to cope and adapt (medium confidence) (King et al., 2012). Maori knowledge of environmental processes and hazards (King et al., 2005; King et al., 2007) as well as strong social-cultural networks will be vital for adaptation and on-going risk management (King et al., 2008); however, choices and actions continue to be constrained by insufficient resourcing, shortages in capacity and expertise, and inequalities in political representation (King et al., 2012). Reaffirming traditional ways and knowledge as well as new and untried policies and strategies will be key to the long-term sustainability of climate-sensitive Maori communities, groups and activities (high confidence) (Harmsworth et al., 2010; King et al., 2012).

4 comments to IPCC says Maori are not equally represented politically – is climate change a “hot topic” around the iwi and Maori society in general ?

  • Beachgirl

    Little sign of Maori being under represented at this Wikipedia page – interesting history.

  • David Brewer

    This extract is so typical of thousands of taxpayer-funded climate impact “studies”. It really has everything:

    – cloying patronising remarks about indigenous people, who are treated as separate (“the Maori economy”), treated as fauna (“Maori regularly utilise the natural environment for hunting and fishing”), and patted on the head (“Maori organisations have developed sophisticated business structures”)

    – dithering finger-pointing at a cornucopia of supposed threats (“The fisheries sector faces substantial risks (and uncertainties) from rising sea levels, changes in ocean temperature and chemistry, potential changes in species composition, condition and productivity levels”)

    – endless references to other equally jejune “studies” in a pseudo-academic attempt to “substantiate” “findings”

    – an unbroken tone of vague abstractions into which almost any existing or potential reality could be read.

    The one thing that is missing is reality. No quantification, no specifics, no tests, no evidence, no proofs, no facts. The conclusion is a classic:

    “Reaffirming traditional ways and knowledge as well as new and untried policies and strategies will be key to the long-term sustainability of climate-sensitive Maori communities, groups and activities (high confidence) (Harmsworth et al., 2010; King et al., 2012).”

    Translation: In the future, Maori had better keep doing what they are doing now, plus some new things. Of course, they, and blind Freddie, might have guessed this already, but at least now we know that it’s scientifically proven – with “high confidence”…

  • […] friend Warwick Hughes draws our attention to a section of the AR5 which features the Maoris. Not New Zealanders, note, but […]

  • David Brewer,

    Thanks for your concise and illuminating comments. They provoke intelligent reflection.

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