1 Apr 2014

Climate change to hit Maori - UN

6:32 am on 1 April 2014

The United Nations says climate change will affect Maori on many levels and in different ways.

An expert group says New Zealand will face more droughts and forest fires, as well as sea levels rising by more than 50cm, by the end of the century.

The summary is that natural systems worldwide are bearing the brunt of rising temperatures right now but scientists fear a growing impact on people's health, homes, food and safety.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also devotes a few paragraphs to Maori, noting land in the east and north is prone to flooding and sediment running off whenua [land] and into streams - two factors which are increasing uncertainty for farming.

As well, the fisheries and aquaculture sector faces substantial risks and uncertainties from changes in ocean temperature, UN scientists say .

The report states changes in natural ecosystems will challenge some Maori to cope and adapt.

The panel suggests combining traditional ways and knowledge with new and untried policies and strategies, to ensure long-term sustainability of climate-sensitive Maori communities.