Māori perspectives on justice for Pacific Islanders at risk of climate-induced displacement | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2050-4039
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4047

Abstract

Anthropogenic climate change is causing ocean acidification and sea levels to rise, threatening the economic, food and physical security of low-lying Pacific Islands. Debates ensue as to whether these effects will force islanders to migrate and, if so, how the international community should conceive of and provide justice for climate-induced displacees. These debates pivot around questions of causality, agency, justice and state security. By focusing on the Indigenous intercultural dynamics that permeate the South Pacific, especially with regard to Polynesian solidarity, this study aims to add further nuance to the debate on how to govern climate-induced migration in the Pacific. Māori environmental activists and experts were interviewed for their views on justice for at-risk Pacific Islanders. Analysis revealed that interviewees conceptualized justice through a holistic prism, accounting for short- and long-term spiritual, psychological and socio-economic impacts of displacement. Drawing on Māori genealogy and principles, interviewees expressed a strong preference and perceived obligation to assist Polynesian displacees. A three-pronged paradigm of justice for Pacific Island displacees emerged based on the concepts of whakapapa, whakamana and rangatiratanga, promoting empowerment, epistemological equity and sovereignty. Rooted in Māori philosophy, this paradigm departs from the state security logic currently dominating climate change and migration discourses.

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2023-06-01
2024-03-04
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