Ko te whāinga whānui o te kaupapa NUWAO ko te whakawhanake i ngā rongoā hoahoa ā-tāone pūtake-taiao, e noho pū ana ki ngā mātauranga taketake, ka tautoko i te urutau panoni āhuarangi, me te oranga ā-takitahi, ā-hapori hoki ki ngā horopaki rerekē puta noa i Aotearoa, i Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa hoki.

NUWAO aims to develop nature-based urban design solutions, rooted in Indigenous knowledges that support climate change adaptation and individual and community wellbeing in different contexts across Aotearoa and Oceania.

What is NUWAO?

NUWAO stands for Nature-based Urban design for Wellbeing and Adaptation in Oceania.  The NUWAO project  aims to develop nature-based urban design solutions, rooted in Indigenous knowledges that support climate change adaptation and individual and community wellbeing in different contexts across Aotearoa and Oceania. We are investigating a new kind of urban climate change adaptation in terms of both process and outcomes. More about Nature-based Solutions.

Who is NUWAO?

NUWAO is led out of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Check out our team here. NUWAO people are spread across both of the main islands of Aotearoa, and in different locations across the Pacific. We would like to acknowledge connections to the National University of Samoa, and Aukaha in Aotearoa.

Where is NUWAO working?

We are working and designing with 5 urban Oceania communities in order to determine how to effectively forefront Indigenous knowledges and solutions that work with nature in urban design, so that both human and ecological wellbeing are simultaneously increased as a response to the impacts of climate change. We are working alongside communities in: Te Awakairangi and near Ōtepoti in Aotearoa; Apia in Samoa; Tarawa in Kiribati; and Port Vila in Vanuatu to devise nature-based climate change adaptation plans, strategies, and co-designed strategies for urban climate change adaptation. Our initial focus is on understanding how people know and are part of their natural local ecosystems. We then work with these knowledges to try to increase wellbeing for people through better design of buildings, Marae, neighbourhoods, towns, and urban green and blue spaces, as nature-based adaptations to climate change impacts.

Why is NUWAO needed?

The pressures of climate change and urbanisation in Aotearoa and the Pacific islands are detrimental to ecosystems and human wellbeing, particularly of vulnerable communities. This must be urgently addressed. The NUWAO project works to co-design, with communities, urban design strategies that are centred in Indigenous ecological knowledge and nature-based solutions (NbS) as a means to adapt to climate change impacts. 

Investigating mātauranga / traditional ecological knowledge / local knowledge for an Oceania form of urban focused NbS offers benefits to the collective identity and health of the whole region, and particularly to tangata whenua and Indigenous Pasifika communities. While NbS are an important strategy to use to adapt to climate change in Oceania, as mandated by the United Nations, we must make sure NbS are suitable for the Oceania context and not not become a new form of colonisation.

How is NUWAO Funded?

NUWAO is funded up until 2024 through a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant.

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