Whanganui Chronicle

Iwi ready for emer­gen­cies

Amer­i­can aca­demic hails Ma¯ori tra­di­tion

- Lau­rel Stow­ell lau­rel.stow­ell@whanganuic­hron­i­cle.co.nz Washington State · United States of America · Whanganui · Washington · South Dakota · The Evergreen State College

The dis­as­ters of cli­mate change are pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­dige­nous cul­tures to show their strength, Dr Zoltan Gross­man says.

He teaches ge­og­ra­phy and na­tive stud­ies at Ever­green State Col­lege in Wash­ing­ton in the United States and vis­ited the Whanganui re­gion this week to talk about how na­tive peo­ples re­act to dis­as­ter in the US and to find out how Ma¯ori cope in those sit­u­a­tions.

He’s es­pe­cially im­pressed with the Ma¯ori tra­di­tion of man­aak­i­tanga — hos­pi­tal­ity and the wel­com­ing and shar­ing with vis­i­tors.

“There’s some­thing for us, and the rest of the world, to learn from that,” he said.

Brought to the re­gion by di­rec­tor of Global Risk Con­sult­ing, Chris Kumeroa, Gross­man met Whanganui re­gion lead­ers who are in­volved in emer­gency man­age­ment and co-op­er­ate with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

He gave a pre­sen­ta­tion about what’s hap­pen­ing in his part of the north­west­ern United States to a group at Te Poho o Tuariki, the Nga¯ Wairiki Nga¯ti Apa cen­tre in Mar­ton.

Wash­ing­ton state is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more floods, land­slides, wind storms and wild fires than be­fore — the first wild fires in rainforest in liv­ing mem­ory.

In these dis­as­ters na­tive tribes are of­ten proac­tive, shar­ing with non-na­tive peo­ples in their area. They have well­ness and el­der cen­tres that are open to all, and they work to re­store dam­aged en­vi­ron­ments.

They have to be more proac­tive about pro­tect­ing their land be­cause they don’t want to leave and go else­where, Gross­man said. And stor­ing food for hard times is part of their cul­ture. He gave the ex­am­ple of South Dakota tribes, who built a di­gester that con­verts the cat­tle ef­flu­ent they ob­ject to into green en­ergy, and the Nisqually Tribe restor­ing the habi­tat of salmon to their river.

"For some rea­son we just seemed to kick into sur­vival mode as Ma¯ori peo­ple. We at­tacked the sit­u­a­tion a lot dif­fer­ently . . . "

Alan Turia

“Salmon are start­ing to come back to that river in ways they haven’t in other rivers with­out treaty rights,” Gross­man said.

Of­ten the tribes help out their non-na­tive neigh­bours.

“Peo­ple have re­alised the tribes are more re­spon­sive to their needs than ei­ther the state or fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

Tribes and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties — which used to be at odds — are in­creas­ingly form­ing al­liances and shar­ing work and equip­ment.

Gross­man’s au­di­ence gave ex­am­ples of sim­i­lar shar­ing in this re­gion. Alan Turia said Whangaehu Marae cooked for evac­u­ated peo­ple for six weeks af­ter the 2015 flood, and in the 2004 flood it dis­trib­uted food from its large freezer up the val­ley.

“For some rea­son we just seemed to kick into sur­vival mode as Ma¯ori peo­ple. We at­tacked the sit­u­a­tion a lot dif­fer­ently to the rest of our com­mu­nity,” he said.

Ran­git¯ıkei, South Taranaki and Whanganui marae have com­bined to form a pan iwi civil de­fence group in al­liance with Whanganui Dis­trict Coun­cil. It takes in about 30 marae, and the two main Civil De­fence wel­fare cen­tres in Whanganui are the Tupoho Com­plex and Te Ao Hou Marae. They will be open to all.

Ma¯ ori make up 24 per cent of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion and were left “high and dry” dur­ing the 2015 flood, Kumeroa said. The pan iwi group aims to make sure it’s bet­ter next time. Peo­ple are be­ing trained in first aid and other skills. The group, with Nga¯i Tahu and Edge­cumbe iwi, will be ad­vis­ing the Prime Min­is­ter and Cab­i­net on emer­gency man­age­ment leg­is­la­tion.

 ??  ?? Vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor Zoltan Gross­man talks about the way na­tive peo­ples in the United States pitch in dur­ing emer­gen­cies.
Vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor Zoltan Gross­man talks about the way na­tive peo­ples in the United States pitch in dur­ing emer­gen­cies.
 ??  ?? Chris Kumeroa, Ra­mari Te Ua­mairangi, Grant Huwyler, Alan Turia, In­grid Cham­ber­lain, Chris Shen­ton, Zoltan Gross­man and An­thony Edwards band to­gether for emer­gency man­age­ment.
Chris Kumeroa, Ra­mari Te Ua­mairangi, Grant Huwyler, Alan Turia, In­grid Cham­ber­lain, Chris Shen­ton, Zoltan Gross­man and An­thony Edwards band to­gether for emer­gency man­age­ment.

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