Traditional Māori Weather and Climate Forecasting

This poster shows a selection of traditional indicators used by Māori from across Aotearoa New Zealand to forecast weather and climate.

Over the centuries, Māori have developed an extensive knowledge of weather and climate. The lessons learnt have been incorporated into traditional and modern practices of agriculture, sailing, fishing, and conservation.

NIWA’s Māori Environmental Research Centre – Te Kūwaha o Taihoro Nukurangi – in collaboration with iwi from across Aotearoa New Zealand, initiated a pilot project in 2005 to explore Māori knowledge of weather and climate variability and change. The project documented an intimate understanding of local weather and climate conditions, including the use of a vast indigenous nomenclature for local weather and climate phenomena, the oral recording of weather- and climate-based events and trends, and the identification of environmental indicators to forecast weather and climate.

While the indicators are of most use in their respective localities, many of them are shared by different iwi in other locations. Often more than one indicator is used to forecast for the day, month, or season ahead. While modern methods of weather and climate prediction have demonstrated significant skill and continue to improve, there remain opportunities to enhance our understanding of local weather and climate prediction through the application of Māori knowledge.

Click on the link provided to download the poster.

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