Mō ngā uri a muri ake nei: Supporting Te Tai o Araiteuru inter-generational decision-making through sea-rise visualisation

Rautaki Whakaaweawe

Pātai Puāwai

Sea level rise resulting from climate change poses significant threats to coastal resources, including mahinga kai, culturally significant sites like wāhi tapu or marae, and projects like wetland habitat restoration. Threats include not just rising sea levels, but also increased frequency and intensity of storm-related effects like storm surge and flooding (e.g., Cyclone Gabrielle). These threats are complex to model, and to fully understand or interpret the outputs of such models often requires technical knowledge beyond the grasp of most people. Additionally, many models are large scale, so they do not offer more fine-grained or local pictures, nor do they incorporate culturally significant areas. Dynamic visualisation at the local community or hapū level can support such understanding. 

Many marae communities, including those of Te Tai o Araiteuru (East Coast of Otago), are at risk. Building on the relationship with Aukaha, the environmental consultancy arm of 5 rūnaka, the project will develop a pilot model to visualise possible effects of sea level rise by superimposing them onto a 3D model of the Otago coastline, focusing particularly on areas significant to Ōtakou rūnaka. This will support marae decision-making in terms of mitigation or adaptation strategies as they develop their inter-generational climate change strategies. 

The project team have undertaken preliminary phases to test and co-design the approach and model with their partner, Aukaha. The project will further build on this research to create an interactive and dynamic visualisation (i.e., showing change over time) of potential sea level rise, combined with storm surge and flooding. This model will be a first for Araiteuru rūnaka, combining local cultural data from Kāi Tahu’s GIS-based cultural mapping website Kā Huru Manu (https://www.kahurumanu.co.nz/) with publicly available geophysical data (also see data sovereignty statement). The usefulness of the model to support decision-making for rūnaka will be assessed by Aukaha. 

Research Lead(s) and Team  

Associate Professor Katharina Ruckstuhl  

Dr. Nigel Stanger  

Dr Brendon Woodford  

Owyn Aitken  

Project commenced: