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Extreme Fire – The Relationships Between Māori and Fire 
December, 2023

Te Tira Whakamātaki are excited to release our full three-part series on the relationship between Māori and fire, past, present and future. This project has been funded by SCION via the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) and was inspired by conversations with five Northland based Kuia.   

The first part focuses on the origins of fire recorded through the story of Maui and Mahuika, and how their relationship guides and informs the ways we still interact and engage with fire today. It teaches us to be wary, but also curious, to use fire, and to prepare for it. 

The second part looks at how Māori have and still use fire in our day to day lives, from the use of Kāuta, to hunting and agriculture. We also look at how colonisation has separated Māori from traditional practices which previously taught us how to respectfully manage our relationship with fire in the same ways we value and respect water, forests, and the rest of the natural world. 

Finally, the third part looks at how the world is changing, and at the increasing risk of extreme fires in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Here we provide useful tips and advice on how to manage fire risk in your day to day life, drawing on local recommendations from Fire and Emergency NZ, as well as International protocols and recommendations. The aim of this final part is to give the reader a starting point in which to discuss with whānau and their wider community how to prepare for extreme fire events. 

Together these booklets help us to look back on how we as Māori relate to and engage with fire historically, to better prepare ourselves for a future of ever increasing fire risk. 

Māori Extreme Fire Booklets

Booklet 1

Māori and Fire
Kōrero Tuku Iho

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Booklet 2

Māori and Fire
​Contemporary Uses of Fires

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Booklet 3

Māori and Fire
Protection Plans

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Coming Soon

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