Pacific countries are being urged to act as global models for a "zero emissions" lifestyle.
An environmental and indigenous rights lawyer, Dayle Takitimu, said Pacific communities are at the most two generations away from living in harmony with the earth and they can teach other countries a lot about living sustainably.
In her keynote address to a Pacific climate change conference at Wellington's Victoria University, she said Maori and Pacific island people also need to reactivate ancient alliances to create a powerful voice on the issue.
"It is possible to be vibrant and beautiful and thriving as a community without having to be massive emitters of carbon and destroying the planet. And the Pacific is really an awesome model for that and we can show the world that."
Dayle Takitimu said Pacific people don't need to make radical changes to lower their carbon emissions unlike industrialised countries.