Climate change minister James Shaw met with Te Urunga o Kea - Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group in Rotorua today.
Iwi representatives told Shaw local hapū were prepared to implement pilot programmes and trial a range of initiatives to support building community resilience.
Te Urunga o Kea – Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group was established in January to ensure tangata whenua led discussions about what could be done at a local level and engag proactively to enable appropriate measures were in place to address needs of the iwi.
Te Arawa spokeswoman Nicola Douglas said climate change was broad and impacted all people in different ways.
"Te Arawa is looking at a long-term and holistic approach to preparedness, and reaching for a response that benefits all people including future generations. 'Mokopuna Decisions' guide us."
Douglas said Shaw was interested in the Te Arawa approach to addressing climate change and the views of the iwi on the Zero Net Carbon Bill and Climate Change Commission.
"Te Urunga o Kea – Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group is already active in a number of climate change-related spaces. Te Arawa Primary Sector Inc are representing iwi landowners on the Net Zero Carbon Bill and Emissions Trading Scheme," Douglas said.
"We have whānau looking at changes to marae infrastructure in order to deal with the impacts of increasing severity of extreme weather events; as well as possible mitigations of sea level rise on our Little Waihi and Maketū communities.
"One of our people is working in the Preparedness – Emergency Management area, another in the climate change research and education field, and others are looking at sustainable energy options for the tribe."
Douglas said the group was also working in partnership with Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Scion to research and produce a Te Arawa Climate Change Strategy.
"We highlighted to the minister the need for more resourcing to iwi and hapū organisations to determine and define our own environmental and socio-cultural needs and solutions. We need to establish baselines to assess how Māori will be impacted with a shift to a low carbon economy.
"We also sought mechanisms to ensure Te Arawa and other iwi are at the decision-making table to design and implement climate change policy."
The group is working in four focus areas; preparedness, education, research and leadership. Key themes so far including food/water security, the impact on Te Arawa lands and industries, emergency management, energy, and the effects of sea level rise in Maketū.