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Climate Change Impacts on Māori

Climate Change Impacts on Māori

Principal investigator: Professor Henrik Moller

Staff involved: Henrik Moller, Corey Bragg

Brief abstract

We discovered a surprisingly strong link between birder harvest success and upcoming Southern Oscillation Index (the simplest measure of El Niño / La Niña climate fluctuations). Birder harvest tallies went down when an El Niño was about to hit.

We hypothesise that the birds encounter and are in some way injured by the precursor conditions just before an El Niño develops and now need to identify the link to (a) predict upcoming birding failure events (the community are keenly interested to know in advance whether to travel to the islands or not), (b) enable prediction of whether that mechanism is likely to be shifting as climate change intensifies, and there by better model climate change impacts on the sustainability of titi harvesting, and (d) potentially identify an early warning system for ecological, fishing economic and health managers for all the Pacific Rim countries.

We therefore teamed up with NIWA oceanographers and remote sensing experts to link our long-term birding diary records to several climate and ocean indicators. Our subcontract to NIWA was to present anonymous data (gifted by the whanau under protection of Kia Mau te Titi mo Ake Tonu Atu’s cultural safety contract) after General Linear Modelling to filter effects of weather and moon on harvest success.