Climate change action should be informed by mātauranga Māori, says Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke

  • 12/08/2023

A Te Pāti Māori candidate says mātauranga Māori should inform how New Zealand tackles the climate crisis.

Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke, the Māori Party candidate for Hauraki-Waikato, was appearing on Newshub Nation's young leaders' debate - during which climate change was a key talking point.

Maipi-Clarke, 20, said she was "sick of" the current kōrero around climate change.

"The climate is constantly evolving, that's its sole purpose is to constantly evolve - and it's the human change that we need to do."

She said it was mātauranga Māori strategies that would help make those changes.

Maramataka - the Māori lunar calendar - played a key role in recent severe weather events, Maipi-Clarke said.

"With the recent events, with the floods in Napier, we saw - and it may sound crazy to some - but there were tohu and signals that could predict that before any weather or horticulturist or scientist could give us.

"That's the layer that we need to add within our Government," she said.

Maipi-Clarke was joined in the young leaders' debate by Labour's Estefania Muller Pallarès, ACT's Ollie Murphy, the Greens' Caeden Tipler and National's Jared Pullar.

Muller Pallarès, Labour's Whangaparāoa candidate, believed the framework was already in place for New Zealand to handle the climate crisis through the establishment of the Climate Change Commission.

Murphy, the president of Young ACT, denied his party's climate policies were entirely market-led.

"We believe that the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme), which many, many reports say is the one and only policy we really do need to combat climate change - ACT would see our ETS with our top five trading partners," he said. "So while we're doing our bit, we can actually focus on growing our economy so we can afford the technological shift that needs to happen."

Tipler, the co-convenor of Young Greens, said New Zealand couldn't "just wait around for a solution" to climate change "to magically invent itself".

"We know what we have to do to solve the climate crisis… it's not just technology, capitalism got us into this situation - it's not going to get us out of this situation."

Pullar, a National policy advisor, was quizzed about whether his party's big focus on roading infrastructure was right given the climate crisis. 

Roading was vital to New Zealand's productivity, he said.

"I think it's been a really balanced plan - our transport plan - and it had public transport built into it as well."

Watch the full young leaders' debate above.

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