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  • He taiao tōnui mō ngā reanga katoa – a flourishing environment for every generation.

    Aotearoa New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ report on the country’s environment every 3 years. This work helps us understand our environment, track the impacts of human activities and identify environmental challenges.

    Environment Aotearoa 2022 has a unique approach – it combines qualitative data, mātauranga Māori and scientific literature to report on the health of the environment. Interweaving different knowledge systems presents a richer and more relevant picture of the whole environment and the connections with people. This approach to environmental reporting is unique to Aotearoa and is distinctive from other approaches around the world.

    Environment Aotearoa 2022 recognises that our wellbeing – our health, livelihoods and leisure – depend on a healthy environment. The report uses Te Kāhui o Matariki as the guiding framework. Each whetū in the Matariki cluster is associated with an aspect of wellbeing and the environment. Using the context of Matariki presents a holistic story of the different environmental domains – ​the earth, the forests, freshwater, marine environment, rains, winds and sky – and their connections with people (tāngata) and provides links from the past to the present and into the future.

    An educational collaboration

    The Hub has teamed up with the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ to create resources using Environment Aotearoa 2022. The articles focus on each whetū in Te Kāhui o Matariki – exploring the environmental domain that it represents, connections to our wellbeing, environmental indicators of its present state, and mātauranga and te ao Māori perspectives.

    Matariki – a herald of wellbeing

    Matariki is the whaea (mother) star of the cluster. She ensures the whetū of the cluster rise together in unison to mark a new year and signal the health of the environment. Matariki is linked to people’s health and wellbeing.

    Wellbeing has different meanings for different people. Most people agree that many aspects of our wellbeing are linked to the environment, now and in the future. This includes our economic wellbeing as well as our enjoyment when experiencing nature. Because the environment (te taiao) is so closely linked with our own wellbeing, we have an obligation to sustain and maintain the wellbeing of te taiao.

    In te ao Māori, Matariki and wellbeing are closely connected with mauri – a key Māori concept that describes the health and vitality of living systems. Mauri is found in water, land, forests, soil and rocks, as well as in the wind and mist. Mauri is often used by scientists to describe the state and sustainability of a particular environment and demonstrates how Māori concepts and science can work together to inform local environmental health.

    Whetū in Te Kāhui o Matariki and their associated environmental domains

    Pōhutukawa – pressures on the environment encourages us to reflect on the pressures we’ve put on te taiao and how this information can guide us to take action.

    Tupuānuku – land and soil explores soil quality and soil losses, and why healthy soils are important.

    Tupuārangi – land-based ecosystems explores the ngahere with a special focus on kererū, harakeke and mānuka.

    Waitī – freshwater environments looks at the connection between the mauri of the people and the mauri of our freshwater systems.

    Waitā – ocean and marine conditions reminds us of the strong connections we have with the sea – including kaimoana and cultural practices, recreation and leisure, and the blue economy.

    Waipunarangi – rains, frosts and climate examines climate change impacts on mātauranga Māori, ecosystems and habitats and the economy.

    Ururangi – air, winds and the sky encourages us to pause and observe the winds and the skies. These links between humanity and te taiao will always remain.

    Hiwa-i-te-rangi – future outlooks encourages us to be aspirational in our solutions to environmental challenges.

    The environmental challenges ahead are complex, interacting, and sometimes outside our direct control. Understanding how our wellbeing is interconnected with environmental change is necessary to ensure the health of generations to come and their environment into the future. It is therefore crucial to make sure we can measure and report on the changes happening in the environment.

    Environment Aotearoa 2022

    Activity ideas

    This activity uses online and/or paper-based resources to identify and label the nine whetū in Matariki and learn about their associations with wellbeing and the environment.

    Use this activity to teach some of the literacy components required to effectively interpret the infographics used in the report.

    Use this cross-curricular activity to explore written and visual components of the report’s Matariki representations. Great inspiration for poetry and art!

    Learn about star constellations and the various legends about them.

    Related content

    The Te Kāhui o Matariki and the environment webinar unpacks ideas connected to this report and Te Kāhui o Matariki and shares resources that can be used as a guiding framework for teaching and learning.

    The Science Learning Hub team has curated a collection of resources to support Matariki and Environment Aotearoa 2022. This collection provides additional context and pedagogical insights. Log in to make this collection part of your private collection, just click on the copy icon. You can then add additional content and notes and make other changes.​​​​​

    Environment Aotearoa 2022 uses information from previous reports to provide an overall picture across and between five domains, including the atmosphere and climate. This introductory article curates resources created to support Our atmosphere and climate 2020.

    The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ report on the pressures, state and impacts of human activities on the freshwater environment in Our freshwater 2023.

    Useful link

    Stats NZ and the Ministry for the Environment report on different aspects of Aotearoa’s environment every 6 months. Access their reports here.


    This resource has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ.

      Published 14 April 2022, Updated 13 June 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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