The philosophy of Mōkū Te Ao challenges the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te
Riu Roa, Aotearoa to centre tamariki Māori (Māori children) in its work. In recent years, NZEI
Te Riu Roa has adopted Mātauranga Māui to address climate change. This research explored
how member leaders’ perspectives on climate activism aligned with Mōkū Te Ao.
Eight semi-structured interviews were carried out in early 2022 with member leaders. The
views of four Māori members were centred. Two Pacific and two Pākehā (European)
members completed those interviewed.
The key finding of the research is that Mātauranga Māui and Mōkū Te Ao are intrinsically
interlinked, centring the rights and interests of tamariki Māori and the value of Mātauranga
Māori (Māori knowledge). Both seek to build agency, strengthen kaitiakitanga (stewardship)
and uphold te tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty) of tamariki Māori. Members’ power to
progress this work is found in their enduring community and professional relationships and
their understanding that we cannot address climate change without addressing the multiple,
intersecting oppressions of colonial injustice.
The research also generated a series of strategic recommendations.