Current and future climate change adaptation of a vulnerable coastal community on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand : a thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Planning at Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
Scientific as well as anecdotal evidence indicate that climate change impacts are being experienced and are affecting communities vulnerable to climate change along the Coromandel Coast. It is therefore imperative to deepen understanding about adaptation to predicted changes, vulnerability and environmental governance efforts in the context of an ephemeral world and given distinctive local conditions, values, interests and experiences. Effective climate change adaptation requires authentic public participation and integration of scientific and local and traditional environmental knowledge. The aim of this research is to recognise the impacts of climate change on a coastal community on the Coromandel Peninsula and analyse the guidance required to facilitate effective adaptation. The approach chosen examines the relationship between local perceptions and national and international guidance in order to identify key principles for meaningful local adaptation. This thesis outlines key principles to manage climate change impacts based on a process of adaptation, sustainability, avoidance, remedy or mitigation of adverse effects, adoption of the precautionary principle, kaitiakitanga, local and traditional environmental knowledge, education and public awareness, governance, responsibility and liability, mainstreaming of climate change information, vulnerability, risk and preparedness for planning and policy decisions. The applied focus is on the local scale to establish an understanding of how vulnerable coastal communities like Te Puru, on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, are affected by projected climate change and how adaptation can be achieved meaningfully and successfully. This research thus contributes to a comprehension of local relevance of climate change and identifies key factors in the light of national and international climate change guidance.