More than 80 per cent of Te Arawa marae are unaware of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan for their region in case of a natural disaster, a new study has found.
Research by brothers Haukapuanui and Sonny Vercoe (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whakaue), and supported by Te Arawa Lakes Trust, analysed the ability of 16 Te Arawa marae to deal with natural disasters including flooding, tsunami, earthquakes, eruptions and landslides.
The study found marae in the region were "moderately resilient, with mild gaps across infrastructure and resourcing".
Sonny Vercoe said the study highlighted that inclusion and collaboration with Civil Defence would help develop marae emergency management processes and mitigate the effects of future natural hazard events.
"We hope to see increased interaction between emergency management agencies, whānau, hapū and iwi; and Te Arawa marae apply for the resourcing and training opportunities available to them."
Results from the study showed that while about two-thirds have on-site water storage, 94 per cent of marae were lacking in backup forms of power including solar, wind, and generator.
It also showed marae were capable of hosting between 70 and 300 people, with more than half confident they could accommodate more in a crisis, and they often became spontaneous communal safety epicentres during natural hazard events.
Despite this, only two Te Arawa marae were civil defence centres.
More than 80 per cent were unaware of the Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Plan for their region, and none of the marae received emergency safety resources from government.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust climate change co-ordinator Lani Kereopa said the findings came in a time of climate change to help advise and support whānau, hapū and iwi with adaption, mitigation, planning and resilience building.
"Hapū and iwi need local and central government funding, resourcing and support including open access to all climate-related data, information and mapping to be able to urgently undertake more iwi-specific climate change research of this kind to help inform decision-making.
"This study also provides essential knowledge for informing policy, funding allocation, and local and central government decision-making," Kereopa said.
Haukapuanui Vercoe said he and his brother were inspired by the opportunity to use their final year research project to help iwi.
"This topic was initiated by the Resilience to Nature's Challenges National Science Challenge, whose mission is to accelerate Aotearoa New Zealand's resilience to natural hazards through innovative, collaborative research.
"Given the time constraints, we narrowed the scope of our study to Te Arawa given most of our whānau connections are in this rohe. However, in the future we hope that this research is expanded to all regions of Aotearoa."