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The role of coastal marae in natural hazard response and climate change adaptation

Marae are much more than infrastructure. They are spiritual places and community hubs. Marae are often positioned in places that are known to be safe based on mātauranga a whānau/hapū/iwi (often more generally referred to as mātauranga Māori - Māori knowledge), and often near waterbodies including rivers/streams, estuaries, and the ocean. Although there are many advantages to living near waterbodies, such features are prone to natural hazards such as flooding and erosion. The impact of these hazards is being exacerbated by climate change and sea level rise. Hapū and iwi in the past adapted to the impact of natural hazards, and continue to do so, and are now adapting to climate change through a carefully considered process informed by mātauranga Māori developed through generations of observations. Coastal adaptation is generally categorised into three broad types: 1) Protect, 2) Accommodate and 3) Retreat, and many coastal marae are already adapting across all these responses. Heading into the future, marae are likely to play an increasingly important role for communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. They are examples of mātauranga in action and will continue to protect and shelter people from hazards and following disasters.
Internet Publication
Type of thesis
New Zealand Coastal Society
© 2022 New Zealand Coastal Society. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.