"We do not need sustainability. Instead, we desperately need restoration."
These were the words of rangatahi speaker Arohanui West at the launch of Te Arawa's climate change strategy on Friday.
The strategy is the result of a two-year research collaboration between Te Urunga O Kea: Te Arawa Climate Change Working Group, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Scion.
Homegrown kai, solar-powered marae, healthy homes and a waste-free environment for future generations were among the priorities of Te Arawa's approach to climate change.
Speaking for Te Arawa's rangatahi at the launch, West said the strategy gave her hope even if there was still a lot of work to be done.
"We must stop valuing economy over environment. We are not separated from the environment, we are the environment."
West expressed her belief in the role rangatahi have to play to make the strategy work.
"Don't just invite us to the table. Give us the whole table. After all, it is us young ones who will carry this baton on."
Te Arawa River Iwi Trust chief executive Eugene Berryman-Kamp challenged Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who also attended the launch, to help Te Arawa secure and support navigators for the future.
"We have people who want to make these changes. We need to support them," said Berryman-Kamp.
Shaw said he looked forward to seeing how Te Arawa's strategy could be supported with human resources, data and science.
"I've spent more time with Te Arawa than any other iwi in the country," he said.
"[Te Arawa] really does the mahi. It's helped to shape my thinking."
Shaw said iwi leadership was "crucial".
"Only together can we rise to the challenge of limiting warming to no more than 1.5C."
Shaw thanked Te Arawa for providing an example for communities across the country.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust climate change co-ordinator Lani Kereopa said the strategy accounted for the anticipated social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of climate change on the iwi.
"This is the future vision of the indigenous peoples of these lands: present and future generations of Te Arawa secure and well."
The vision Kereopa described also included the promotion of circular, self-sufficient economies, carless communities, organic gardens and pest-free waterways.
"This is the Te Arawa response to climate change. We have a plan. All we need now is resourcing and support to implement it."
Kereopa said the next steps for whānau, hapū, marae and iwi entities are to develop action plans, gather information, build understanding and relationships, and empower on-the-ground action.