Climate Matters - shaping our climate solutions

NIWA is bringing together decision makers and influencers from across New Zealand this month to shape the science we need to respond to our changing climate.

NIWA’s national climate conversation, Climate Matters, gets under way at Te Papa in Wellington on 26 June. It is firmly focused on the science required for effective decision making about climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Mitigation refers to steps we can take to slow climate change, such as changing our transport choices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Adaptation describes actions we can take to respond to climate changes. This can range from moves such as retreating from threatened coastlines in response to sea-level rise to planting new crops to take advantage of new climate opportunities.

Both mitigation and adaptation are urgently required if New Zealand is to reach its zero carbon emissions targets and also prepare communities and businesses for climate-related challenges.


Our climate is changing and New Zealanders are already counting the costs.

  • Insurance companies have paid out more than $500 million in severe storm and flood claims since 2016. 
  •  Treasury estimates droughts have cost more than $700 million over the past 10 years. 
  •  Residential and commercial buildings worth up to $38 billion may be at risk from rising sea levels.

NIWA’s science already plays a pivotal role in guiding effective mitigation actions and ensuring we build resilience into the ways we adapt and respond. Climate Matters provides a national forum for public and private decision makers to share the research and information they need to accelerate this work.

Central and local government, the energy, water, transport and insurance sectors, primary industries, academia and New Zealand’s National Science Challenges are all involved. Climate change has a disproportionate effect on future generations and a group of young ambassadors from Blake (the Sir Peter Blake Trust) will bring their viewpoint to the table.

Jeff Privette, Deputy Director of the the Center for Weather and Climate at the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leads the plenary session. Senior NIWA scientists will brief participants on the latest projections for our future climate, the impact of climate change on our oceans and NIWA’s science on mitigation and adaptation.

The main focus is on targeted workshops to enable community, sector and government decision makers engage with NIWA about the research and tools they need to respond to our climate challenges.