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Utu - Towards Balance

The concept of utu rests on the idea that for everything given or taken, a return of some kind is required. Collaboration in our action against climate change relies on utu as it becomes a fundamental driver of action, requiring personal and collective action and reciprocity for all involved.

One strong consensus within climate action spaces is that the change required to sustain our futures requires everyone. Our collective strength relies on our diversities - of knowledge, strengths and skills. Transformation is cultivated through multi-disciplinary approaches to climate action, gathering the strengths of varying worldviews and knowledge systems on a tika path towards balance.


“In the US and Canada alone, Indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one quarter of annual emissions. What we do works.”

- India Logan-Riley

The resources below share varying approaches towards balance at an international scale. A non-exhaustive list, these approaches are decentralised and global, though they find local expressions. The climate crisis is international in its causes and effects and calls for solutions at an international level - whether this is advocating against fossil fuel use or lobbying for greater resource distribution towards frontline communities. 

Loss and Damage

Loss and Damage is both a term and a movement growing in use around the globe and in decision-making spaces over the past decade. As a term, it captures both economic and non-economic losses and damages worn by countries at the face of our changing climate. As a movement, it is carried in the forms of plans, policies and demands into negotiations such as COP26. 

To learn more about Loss and Damage, click here.

Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ)

“Indigenous Environmental Justice offers a distinct framework and set of logics that recognizes the agency of non-human beings as well as the Earth itself.”

- Deborah Mcgregor

Representing 5% of the world’s population, Indigenous Peoples are acting stewards of 80% of the planet’s diversity. Indigenous knowledge systems, legal orders and governance are mobilised towards the changes required for life to be sustained for all inhabitants of Earth.

Learn more about IEJ here.

Learn about being an ally to IEJ here.

Aywaa is an initiative that seeks to inform, engage, and inspire those willing to deepen their awareness of how Indigenous peoples in the North are strengthening healthy relationships with all living things that inhabit through the practice of sharing narratives, decision-making processes become based in responsibility, reciprocity and respect. 

Movement Against Fossil Fuel

This video by 350, a global grassroots movement standing against the climate crisis, identifies power as the challenge and the solution. Challenging fossil fuel companies, the wealthiest and most powerful organisations in the world, 350 places greater power in the people and has produced an influential global movement.

Burning fossil fuels remains the single largest contributor to our changing climate, with close to 70% of emissions borne from fossil fuel use and other industrial processes. 

With the fossil fuel industry having known about its impacts since the 1970’s and remaining a powerful lobbying force in international negotiations, progress has been gravely stalled. A rapid shift is needed to remain below 1.5 degrees. 



Over a period of time and hundreds of hui, Tangata whenua organised themselves and created a vision for a different set of arrangements for decision making in Aotearoa.  In 2016, an independent Māori group delivered its Matike Mai report on constitutional transformation.

Matike Mai is a commitment to tangata whenua values, tikanga and balance.  It speaks of finding ways through conflict, rather than trying to beat your adversary

A call is made in Matike Mai for us all to commit to collective values and to ensure that transformation is an inclusive process. Our future relies on the strengths and aspirations of both tangata whenua and tangata tiriti, and ultimately how we work together.

Togetherness is contingent on balance, reciprocity and trust - all that Matike Mai represents, making it vital within a tika transition.

“What we can do is constantly talk about the need for change. Advocate the need for change. And above all, really be brave.”

- Moana Jackson

Leader and advocate of Matike Mai, Dr Moana Jackson's call has always been to set aside the limits of our thinking and ask ourselves how we wish to make decisions and share power.


This leads us to the following pātai (question):

How are we organising ourselves (regions and communities), to work together, make decisions and share power?

Water Represents Our Lost Balance

Te Mana o te Wai – The health of our wai, the health of our nation refers to the fundamental importance of water as the foundation of all decision-making for freshwater management. 

In 2019, the Kāhui Wai Māori group, presented Te Mana o te Wai to Minister Parker, outlining the collective Aotearoa obligation, principles and leadership required to deliver

Te Mana o te Wai, programme of action.

Below we share a range of inspiring strategies and actions here in Aotearoa.

Iwi/Māori Climate Change Strategies

Climate change threatens all aspects of Māori wellbeing and the health of future generations.

To this end, Iwi, hapū and Māori rōpu have developed and/or are actioning intergenerational strategies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Iwi/Māori Climate Change Strategies

Community Action Towards Balance

Meaningful change starts with people. Identifying community and grassroots climate action can be a complex process. Approaches to change may emphasise the local or global and may be directly or indirectly connected to climate action. Pathways towards change may be fast and responsive to key moments, or slow and deep in their approach towards change.

The New Zealand Climate Action Network provides an introduction to the community climate action landscape in Aotearoa.

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Ko ngā mahi inaianei hei oranga mo rātou apopo | For those who will benefit from our efforts today

The Deep South Challenge research mission is to enable New Zealanders to adapt, manage risk and thrive in a changing climate. They are achieving this by connecting science with society, of a particular note is the Vision Mātauranga programme.

Vision Mātauranga projects are investigating climate change impacts and opportunities for iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori business. Together they represent the largest ever Māori-led research effort into the implications of changing climate conditions for Māori society.

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BERL facilitated a Climate Action series of wānanga with community, seeking further dialogue on a BERL report which asks ‘What does a low-emission, regenerative, distributive, and resilient Aotearoa New Zealand look like for communities?’. The key premise of BERL’s opinion, is that a wider economic model that values our people and our planet is valid and necessary. Not only is it valid and necessary, it is fundamental if Aotearoa New Zealand is to overcome our twenty-first century challenges. 

The article attached, is a summary of community voice, the common themes and insights from the Climate Action Series.

Papawhakaritorito is a small scale Hua Parakore food farm that nourishes soil, food and whānau and provides an opportunity to live Indigenous Food Sovereignty through the Hua Parakore principles.

The role of Māori community gardens in health promotion: a land-based community development response by Tangata Whenua, people of their land is a great article to learn more about Indigenous land and community-based climate action.

Community Action Towards Balance

Signatory Funded Examples

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