Introduction | Tīmatanga kōrero – How to use this guide | Te whakamahi i tēnei puka arataki

This is a guide to help communities in Aotearoa New Zealand navigate transitions through periods of disruption to achieve just outcomes.

Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa.

Let us keep close together, not wide apart.

This guide is written to support you and your community to navigate, plan for and respond to disruptions. Perhaps you’re facing a social, economic or environmental challenge and thinking about starting a process of change, or you're looking for ways to improve an existing process.

A transition is a disruption, a transformation. It can bring both fear and hope. It is a process of deep change to the fundamental systems and supports of our lives.

A just transition can restore and rejuvenate mauri life force to bring social, economic and environmental systems and supports into balance. It addresses injustices. It is inclusive and based on shared principles, values and visions. Its outcomes support oranga wellbeing for all.

Transitions can unfold across many levels, but ultimately their impacts are local. Just transitions are anchored in a sense of place. For many in Aotearoa New Zealand, this involves a deep connection to te taiao the environment. Transitions can also happen on many time frames, from the short term through to spanning generations.

Our communities are uniquely placed to play a leading role in transitions because they have a deep understanding of what is happening and are closely connected to those who will be most affected. Communities often know what they need and have a range of skills already at hand for a just transition.

This does not mean that communities should act alone. Making progress usually requires partnership, support and resourcing from government and others.

This guide provides ideas, methods, tools and case studies that can support your journey of change. It focuses on locally led change at multiple scales, from regions, to cities and towns, iwi/hapū, sectors, businesses and other organisations, and neighbourhoods. It draws from the practical experience of people who have been on this journey in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. It is applicable to many types of transitions.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, just transitions will be unique because of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori values. This guide draws on some tikanga customary values and lore and mātauranga knowledge and includes case studies of transitions led by iwi tribes, hapū kin groups and Māori communities, as well as others. It is not a comprehensive tikanga and mātauranga document, but it provides some helpful guidelines on core concepts at a high level.

Further work will be needed to provide more specific guidance for groups with particular needs, lived experiences or relationships, as well as those seeking to support such groups.

The guide has a strong focus on locally led change to complement government work already underway. The government still needs to play an important role in establishing laws, policies and funding to enable just transition processes.

How to use this guide

A just transition has many dimensions and does not follow a straight path. The information in this guide will help you understand how to find directions in common.

This guide begins by providing foundations for getting started. It then moves through 4 stages of just transition initiatives:

  • Connecting
  • Planning
  • Acting
  • Adapting

Within each of these stages are important steps to progress your transition. You don’t have to go step by step; you can jump to whichever stage or step is relevant to your needs.