SCANZ 2013: Societal Acceptance of Ground-Source Heat Innovations for Rural Māori Communities with the example of Ngati Rangiwewehi

Authors: Gina Mohi, Paul White and Diane Bradshaw


Iwi/Māori have a long association with New Zealand’s natural environment that is based on knowledge that has built up over time through centuries of interaction with the natural world. This includes the use of natural resources within many iwi/Māori communities. Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) also includes tradition but is a broader collection of Māori knowledge, or set of subjects relating to esoteric and spiritual knowledge based in the past but often used and evolving in the present, for the future (Bradshaw and Faulkner, 2009).

Ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) are an established technology, capable of delivering efficient heating and cooling utilising the immense renewable energy stored in the ground, ground water or surface water. They are being recognised as an alternative to fossil fuel systems and can offer significant reductions in the overall CO2 emissions. GNS Science Māori Strategy seeks to identify the opportunities of GSHP technologies as a consideration for housing or marae development. This technology has much to offer communities, particularly in rural areas because resource use is relatively benign. Also, this technology has much to offer Māori and the important rural marae that fulfil a crucial role in New Zealand communities.

In this paper, we describe a comprehensive framework for ground-source heat pump technologies in rural Māori communities aiming at societal acceptance of resource use and the technology associated with ground-source heat pumps. For these communities, resource utilisation must be consistent with long-term Māori custodial responsibilities. The framework is developed and tested with Ngāti Rangiwewehi and the Awahou Marae on the shores of Lake Rotorua.