Ngāi Tahu takes another step to address climate change – Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu


Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai today launched a strategy that will help Papatipu Rūnanga further prepare for the effects of climate change.

He Rautaki Mō Te Huringa o Te Āhuarangi – the Ngāi Tahu Climate Change Strategy – provides the overall framework that will support decision making within the tribe in the years ahead.

Mrs Tumahai says Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has been working with Papatipu Rūnanga and whānau on the strategy for several years.

“It’s exciting to see this important and long-awaited kaupapa come to fruition and to share the results with whānau today at our annual tribal meeting. We stand firm in the belief that amidst change and loss there is also hope and opportunity,” she says.

“Our major driver in developing this strategy is ensuring we protect the environment and resources that we are kaitiaki for, for this and future generations. An absolute intergenerational focus is fundamental when considering our response to climate change. The actions we take now and in future years will impact the lives of our mokopuna and their descendants, so we must get it right.”

Mrs Tumahai says whānau have been adapting to environmental changes for generations, so this is not a new idea – the strategy is merely a new way to formalise the tribe’s approach.

“In the coming months, we’ll be sharing the contents of this strategy in more detail with each of our Papatipu Rūnanga, with the aim of helping them develop climate change response plans specific to their marae, business holdings and whānau programmes. We have a broad and diverse takiwā, so there will be a large variance in how the strategy is implemented throughout Te Waipounamu. Much work is already being done, such as alternative energy solutions and energy efficiency projects across our marae.”

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“Through the strategy we are also beginning to drive emissions reductions within our tribal businesses, in order to show leadership in this space and support the best possible climate change outcomes. Our businesses are expected to be responsible, innovative and adaptable, and they will all need climate change response plans that incorporate mitigation and adaptation tactics.”

Mrs Tumahai says it is important to note that this strategy is just one part of the mahi Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is doing to address climate change, and that her work as deputy chair of the Interim Climate Change Committee complements the wonderful work being done by the iwi.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu also advocates for the iwi on policy and legislative amendments related to climate change.

“We know the issues we are facing related to climate change are far from unique and are shared by local and central government and other iwi throughout Aotearoa. As we anchor the foundation for Ngāi Tahu whānau now and into the future we are uplifting and strengthening the national response to climate change.”

An abbreviated version of the strategy is available at: