Tamariki Māori will be more adversely affected by climate change, with greater proportions attending schools in coastal
Tamariki Māori are 10 percent more likely than other ethnic groups to attend the schools that will be the most affected
by rising sea levels, according to data analysis by NZEI Te Riu Roa.
The analysis of enrolment data was based on research published last year by the National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research (NIWA) showing that almost 100 schools are at risk of flooding and closures by rising sea levels.
“What this analysis shows is the need for the urgent adoption of policy measures tackling climate change,” said NZEI Te
Riu Roa National President Liam Rutherford.
“The Government took a promising step towards that with the release of the National Adaptation Plan on Wednesday, but we
are all now living with climate change and the need to take urgent action is becoming increasingly important.”
The union has championed the need to respond and adapt to climate change for several years and is a member of the New
Zealand Climate Action Network (NZ-CAN).
“Educators have become increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change on tamariki; on their ability to
learn, and on school communities”, Mr Rutherford said.
“The reality is that we are all now being affected by climate change, but what our analysis shows is that it’s not
affecting us equally.”
Mr Rutherford added, however, that the impact of climate change is not restricted to sea level rise, with more intense
storms and flooding occurring more frequently.
“It’s why it’s imperative we are closely involved in planning and consultation as the adaptation plan progresses, so
that when schools and ECE centres do start to need to move, close or merge and the education workforce needs to adapt,
we can all be prepared”.
Mr Rutherford is also calling on the government to begin work on its Equitable Transition Plan as soon as possible.
“This plan to transition workers and communities needs to be primarily about reducing emissions, but it must also look
at the financial and workforce costs of climate adaptation,” he said.
“Climate change is with us now. We must do everything we can to act now in the interests of current and future