6 Oct 2014

Tongan local customs can help in climate battle

11:42 am on 6 October 2014

Caritas Tonga wants to see traditional local knowledge used together with climate science, to help communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

Its programme co-ordinator, Amelia Ma'afu, was a keynote speaker at the launch of Caritas New Zealand's report on the environmental challenges people across Oceania face at a grass roots level.

She says the Tongan farmers calendar, which determines the best times and crops to harvest and plant, is an example of traditional knowledge helping adapt to climate change

Mrs Ma'afu says she wants to highlight the validity of these traditional practices.

"Where these traditional knowledges are getting recognised by policy makers and bridging the gap between the science and the traditional knowledge, to produce a more integral approach to, in the case of Tonga, weather bulletins - that farmers can use, to decide when is the best time in Tonga to plant casava or taro or kumara, that is the hope with this climate change programme."

Caritas Tonga's Amelia Ma'afu.