Iwi researchers, scientists study natural disasters

Geologists and volcanologists today met with iwi researchers at Tangatarua Marae in Rotorua to better understand, prepare and respond to natural disasters.

The gathering is part of an $8mil research project called Eclipse.

According to Graham Leonard of GNS Science, the research is an international team effort.

“This programme is designed right from the get-go as a co-creation with iwi...with emergency management and with scientists across five of our universities [and] GNS Science and even international collaborators working on other super volcanoes in Italy and the United States.”

The research project will study the volcanic and geothermal areas of Rotorua and Taupō.

Sylvia Tapuke, who is one of the researchers on the project, says this is the first of two iwi workshops.

“We need to understand our land, signs, knowing how the read the land and its language and also how we should be prepared,” she says.

Professor David Johnston of GNS and Massey University says, “I think it's really about setting a set of values for this project so we work as one together, we understand the perspectives that we each come from and sort of build a team looking forward, helping the community be involved, helping our whānau be involved and working with the scientists.” 

Researchers with Te Arawa and Ngāti Tūwharetoa whakapapa were also brought in.

“We need to sit side by side with others.  Mark Solomon said 'it's not about you or me- it's about all of us,'” says Tapuke.

The second iwi workshop will be hosted by Ngāti Tūwharetoa in Waitetoko.