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  • Greenpeace Aotearoa

Downstream - Three Wāhine talk about the impacts of climate change in Tairāwhiti

“We were forest people. And we will be forest people again.” Tui Warmenhoven (Ngāti Porou)

This Greenpeace documentary interviews three wahine Māori after the impacts of multiple cyclones that have destroyed farmland, wiped out areas of native forest, destroyed roads and bridges and cut off communities and whānau. Tui Warmenhoven (Ngāti Porou), Bobbie Morice (Ngāti Porou) and Maria Smith (Ngāti Porou) speak to the collective and cumulative grief at the state of the land and waterways and the impact on isolated communities.

Key messages

  • Poor land management from farming and pine forestry over generations has caused the problems faced today in Tairāwhiti.

“Everything has its own mauri, and we’re supposed to be connected. This is not only telling me what we are doing to our land, but what our people are doing to each other.”

  • The people that suffer from the ongoing impacts of this poor land management are not the people that have caused the destruction or profited from it.

“We did not cause this, but we’re the ones suffering for it.”

  • This problem is here now and it is the lived reality for people on the Coast. This isn’t something that can be patched up but requires a transition where local communities are properly resourced to find and implement the solutions.

“This is something that will never go away in my lifetime, I’m going to be advocating and looking for solutions until the day I die.”

  • Here in Aotearoa NZ, and globally, we owe it to future generations to rectify what we have done to our environment and climate.

“It’s an innocent generation and this is the legacy that they’ve inherited. Not just here throughout Aotearoa and the whole globe. It’s those generations. What have we done? And what are we going to do now to rectify this?”

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