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Investigating the role of fluvial geomorphology to support kaitiaki-led river restoration in the face of climate change

Ka mau tonu ngā taonga tapu o ngā matua tūpuna, koinei ngā taonga i tuku iho, ngā te Atua

Hold fast to the treasures of the ancestors for they are the treasures that have been handed down to us by God

Extreme weather events are predicted to increase in frequency and intensity across Aotearoa New Zealand, which could lead to increased flooding, erosion, and sedimentation of river systems throughout the country.

Information relating to the effects of rivers on landscapes (fluvial geomorphology) can help to predict how particular river systems might respond to weather events, and in turn, help to inform river restoration strategies that are robust, resilient, and adaptive to a changing climate. This includes river processes (flows, erosion, and sediment), river land forms, and landscape controls (e.g. climate, soil, geology, terrain, vegetation, land-use activities).

He Awa Ora, He Tāngata Ora is interested in exploring to what extent these geomorphic concepts, knowledge, and tools can be framed differently to better align with te ao Māori worldview, values, and ways of doing (restoration). By doing so, we endeavour to empower mana whenua (tribal rights and authority) to utilise geomorphic information in ways that are relevant and that align with their aspirations and vision. At the same time, we envisage that this research will help fluvial geomorphologists and river managers to partner with mana whenua in ways that are truly collaborative.

Coming soon:
The He Awa Ora, He Tāngata Ora report outlines Māori involvement in contemporary river restoration and assesses dual knowledge systems of fluvial geomorphic and te ao Māori worldviews, in addressing meaningful Māori-led river restoration. Whilst this restoration approach can be complex, the report recommends the enhancement of health and wellbeing of rivers across Aotearoa, in ways that fulfil Treaty obligations, whereby mana whenua can enact their rights of rangatiratanga (sovereignty), mana motuhake (territorial authority), and kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

Infographic. He Awa Ora, He Tāngata Ora: Healthy Rivers, Healthy Communities

Infographic. He Awa Ora, He Tāngata Ora: Healthy Rivers, Healthy Communities

Infographic. He Awa Ora, He Tāngata Ora: Healthy Rivers, Healthy Communities
Click to download.

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