Taiepa Tiketike

Parihaka is working towards being a ‘Living Language Community’ and an education destination for culture, language and peace studies.  The proposed work programme for this project is to allow for an expression of the Parihaka community’s kaupapa of sustainable living and peaceful coexistence by efficient energy generation and use. Parihaka leaders are conscious of their mantle of ‘thought leadership’ and would expect and encourage others to visit in order to better understand this exemplar of good practice in innovative and sustainable communities.

Prof Ralph Sims and Dr Phil Murray (Lecturers in Sustainable Energy), both from the Centre for Energy Research at Massey University, Palmerston North, will be involved in part-time placements within Parihaka (i.e. 4 weeks in total).  They will work directly with the Parihaka Papakāinga and community to develop a shared vision around the specifics of the work programme and to identify Parihaka contributors to the work programme, in light of the hands-on work involved.

Post-graduate student(s) will be assigned and re-located to Taranaki/Parihaka on a negotiated basis in order to closely liaise with and work with a research assistant and the wider community.  Ralph and Phil will provide mentoring and supervision for the postgraduate(s) researcher(s) to be placed at Parihaka. This will include site visits by both lecturers, and these meetings will also involve staff from other Massey schools in wider discussions on sustainability. The (to be appointed) Research Assistant(s) from Parihaka will be mentored, in turn, by the Postgraduate researcher(s), who will be supported in this by both Massey Centre for Energy Research staff members. 

DSCN2058Ralph and Phil will spend time at Parihaka (approximately 2 weeks each per year in total), but will enlist and mentor a postgraduate/postdoctoral researcher as a ‘feet on the ground’ contributor who will work in a paid role with the Parihaka community towards an evolving relationship with Massey.  That person, or persons, will help identify further the specifics of the individual research projects relevant to the sustainability project, and work to engage the community in the research process.

Via this engagement, the Massey team and Parihaka leaders will work to identify and mentor community members who can contribute to this initiative and to future sustainability-related initiatives. If possible, 1-2 people within the community, or associated with the community, will be mentored towards studies in Sustainable Energy, and thus to become equipped for researching related areas in future and contributing to the body of knowledge that is growing in NZ in this area. Longer term, the introduction of sustainable energy (and other infrastructure) systems at Parihaka is expected to create employment for those in the community who, linked with local companies, will be involved in their operation and maintenance.


DSCN1695The university researchers will enable the Parihaka community to grow their understandings of how their own consumer practices can contribute to the vision of a sustainable ‘eco community’ – a self-sustaining community.  At a hui in April 2014, the residents of Parihaka were presented with a preliminary report from Spire Consulting regarding the infrastructural demands that could be anticipated in light of a ‘renaissance’ period for Parihaka. Spire’s analysis has raised a range of issues that the leaders and residents of the Papakāinga need to further explore.  It was agreed in April 2014 that a further 1,000 permanent residents in 300 new dwellings may be a likely scenario for the Papakāinga by 2025.

DSCN1690 It is realised that energy issues, in part, overlap with increasing demands for land, water and waste treatment as the community expands to meet its aspirations. For example, treatment of human and organic wastes can be linked with the production of biogas used for heat and power generation and supply of water can be linked with a mini-hydro system. Whilst this project will concentrate on energy demand and supply, it will not be at the total exclusion of other related issues, although these may require further evaluations as future stages of the Parihaka vision.

Anticipated Academic Research Modules

The following four academic research modules are indicative only and not final.  They are

1.    Hybrid energy system designs for an expanding Parihaka Papakainga community

2.    Parihaka Papakainga low energy passive solar housing designs

3.    Energy efficiency gains in the Parihaka community

4.    Sustainable transport systems for the Parihaka community