Te Weu Tairāwhiti is a collective of local researchers and actionists here in Te Tairāwhiti. Since 2021 the charitable trust has been encouraging residents and communities to look at the risks posed by extreme weather events to our region.
Since then they’ve produced resources to assist local conversations about climate change and land use, supported residents to initiate changes in land use policy and plans, and have been involved in a number of climate resilience research projects, the lessons from which will be presented at the Tairāwhiti Resilience Research Symposium being held at the new Midway Community Hub in Gisborne next week.
The Symposium will be an opportunity for locals, policy makers and researchers to engage with the evidence and stories that have been collected through various research projects. One of the researchers that will be presenting is Professor Holly Thorpe, who notes the importance of these lessons being used and shared locally and, “not just by central government”.
Over the course of two days we’ll hear from researchers who conducted in-depth interviews that focused on what happened during and after the series of extreme weather events in early 2023 and the impacts on the health and wellbeing of individuals, whānau and communities in the region.
The initial findings from the study will be shared alongside a similar set of interviews in Hawkes Bay and an analysis of official health records and data from the two regions.
We’ll also hear from Haukapuanui Vercoe, a post-graduate researcher from the University of Auckland who will be presenting his research that looks at the natural hazard resilience of marae, as well as Ministry of Health officials, MPs for the region, and representatives from GDC, Manaaki Tairāwhiti, Manaaki Matakaoa, CCS Disability Action, Muriwai Haumaru Rōpū, Tautua Village, Tairāwhiti Technology Trust and others.
As Renee Raroa, a Te Weu Tairāwhiti trustee says, “we don’t know how long it will be before the next extreme weather event so it is important to reflect on what happened, what we need more of and what can be done differently in the future”.
This symposium is a really important step in our ongoing recovery, providing a space for the conversation about how we build more local research capability and capacity going forward into the future.
The Tairāwhiti Resilience & Research Symposium is being held at the Midway Community Hub on Thursday 15 February, 8:30 am - 4:30pm and Friday, 16 February 8:30am - 4:30 pm.
Attendance is free but numbers are limited. You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ka-mua-ka-muri-tairawhiti-resilience-research-symposium-tickets-805970959837