Climate Connect Aotearoa launches initiative to embed te ao Māori in climate innovation

26 July 2023
Te Ao Māori

Media Release

A central knowledge hub to connect businesses, communities and organisations with Māori-led climate resources.

Today, Climate Connect Aotearoa is launching He Kete Mātauranga, a new knowledge space dedicated to embedding te ao Māori within climate discussions.  

Translating as ‘basket of knowledge’, He Kete Mātauranga is a new hub within the Climate Connect Aotearoa website containing information on Māori knowledge systems and frameworks in relation to climate change. It connects businesses, communities and organisations with Māori-led climate resources to build capability, share insights and support climate action in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, as well as across Aotearoa New Zealand.  

He Kete Mātauranga will also assist non-Māori businesses and organisations to explore and understand the value and importance of the perspective of te ao Māori, the Māori worldview, in their climate change response.  

Climate Connect Aotearoa was established by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the region’s economic and cultural agency, on behalf of Auckland Council in October 2022. Its mission is to help the transition to a climate resilient and low carbon Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa. He Kete Mātauranga is one of the key activities for Climate Connect Aotearoa and its launch coincides with the unveiling of a full te reo Māori translation of the entire Climate Connect Aotearoa site. 

Cornell Tukiri, Senior Māori Advisor at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says, “Climate change is creating disproportionate challenges for Māori. This is linked to complex issues facing Māori across four key domains — environment, Māori enterprise, wellbeing and Māori culture. Yet Māori hold knowledge and solutions for our changing climate.” 

“A key principle of te ao Māori is interconnectedness. Climate change is an example of the interrelated, interconnected world we live in. In te ao Māori, we look to the past and benefit from traditional knowledge passed down through generations. Understanding how our ancestors interacted with the environment and responded in times of adversity can guide how we respond to climate change now, and into the future. The development of He Kete Mātauranga is an important step to supporting this. It recognises the value of mātauranga Māori in informing climate mitigation and adaptation,” says Cornell Tukiri. 

Helen Te Hira, Director of Māori Outcomes at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says He Kete Mātauranga is an exciting start to addressing the demand and need to grow business capability in te ao Māori within climate innovation. 

“It’s important for businesses and people to understand their role and relationship to te taiao, the environment. The resources in He Kete Mātauranga reflect a growing appreciation of the innovation and adaptability that tāngata whenua have always had when it comes to sustainability, innovation and kaitiakitanga, or guardianship and protection.” 

Pam Ford, Head of Investment and Industry at Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says, “The Māori business economy accounted for nine per cent of the Tāmaki Makaurau economy in 2020. Any change in climate that hinders access to whenua or traditionally significant areas impacts interconnectedness and a growing Māori economy. 

“Weaving Māori values and knowledge systems with climate solutions while deepening the collective understanding of the Māori world view is a transformative and important approach. It’s obvious that proactive changes are needed to support Māori businesses to enhance resilience — this is the basis for He Kete Mātauranga,” says Pam Ford.  

At launch, the He Kete Mātauranga knowledge hub will include a series of three video interviews with mātanga or experts in this space, including a kaitiakitanga advisor and a Māori business. These exemplars share experiences of existing practices and businesses from a Māori perspective. Experts include Dan Hikuroa, Earth Systems Scientist and Associate Professor in Māori Studies at the University of Auckland; Te Huia Taylor, Kaitiakitanga Consultant and Director of Paakaurua Consultants; and Tama Toki of Aotea, a Māori business inspired by the mātauranga of the founder’s iwi (Aotea Great Barrier Island). Aotea consists of two entities, a skincare range called Aotea Made, and the still-in-development clean energy company, Aotea Energy. 

Underpinning the development of He Kete Mātauranga is a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Te Tiriti forms foundational principles in the mahi (work), namely the active protection of taonga or highly prized possessions (tangible or intangible) and the protection of Māori spiritual practices. 

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