Environment Aotearoa 2022 provides an overall picture of our environment across the marine, freshwater, atmosphere and climate, land, and air domains.

Ko Te Taiao Aotearoa 2022 te pūrongo hou o tētahi raupapa pūrongo mō te taiao e whakaputaina ana e Te Manatū mō te Taiao me Tatauranga Aotearoa. Pānuitia te whakarāpopototanga tuihono o te pūrongo i te reo Māori.

Environment Aotearoa 2022 is part of a series of environmental reports produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ.

Environment Aotearoa 2022 summary

Environment Aotearoa 2022 is produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015. The triennial report synthesises the evidence base on the state of the environment contained in domain reports since Environment Aotearoa 2019. The report does not suggest any response as it is out of scope under the report’s governing legislation. This is a summary of the full report.

What’s new in Environment Aotearoa 2022

Environment Aotearoa 2022 explores the importance of the environment to our lives and livelihoods

Three years on from the previous state of the environment report, our environmental indicators do not register much change. But we have changed the way we have approached and compiled the evidence.

Environment Aotearoa 2022 places environmental change in the context of our lives as individuals, families (whānau), and communities. We have pulled together a diverse set of evidence drawing on Māori knowledge (mātauranga Māori), environmental science, health science, and economics.

The integrated approach and wellbeing focus of this report supports us to reflect on our connections with the environment (te taiao) and our impacts on it.

The report advances the inclusion of mātauranga Māori in environmental reporting 

Understanding how mātauranga Māori can inform environmental reporting is an active area of research. This report builds towards a more sophisticated understanding of how to bring different bodies of knowledge together in future reporting. 

Environment Aotearoa 2022 uses Te Kāhui o Matariki (the Matariki star cluster) to organise the evidence in the report. As a signal of the Māori new year, it commemorates loss and celebrates hope for the future. Each star in the cluster represents a way that we connect with the environment. Bringing a Māori world view (te ao Māori) recognises the interconnectedness of all parts of the environment, including people, and speaks to something that connects us all to Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Wellbeing and our connection to the environment (te taiao)

Our wellbeing is linked to a healthy environment

In Environment Aotearoa 2022, we view people as part of the environment.

Wellbeing means different things to each of us, and how we define and understand our relationship with the rest of the natural world is diverse and evolving.

In mātauranga Māori, wellbeing can be described using ‘waiora’. The concept grounds human wellbeing in water (wai) as the source of life (ora). In this view, human wellbeing and te taiao are linked to one another.

Environment Aotearoa 2022 brings together diverse conceptions of wellbeing in relation to the environment, helping provide a richer understanding of our many connections with the environment.

Key findings about the environment and wellbeing

Loss and pressures on species and ecosystems (Pōhutakawa)

Loss and pressures on species and ecosystems (represented by the star Pōhutakawa) have changed with human settlement. Each generation leaves a legacy effect on the environment, including pressures of land-use change and intensification, pollution, natural resource use, climate change, and invasive species.

Land and soil (Tupuānuku)

Land and soil (Tupuānuku) support our economy, food production, and our health. Soils regulate the flows of nutrients, contaminants, and water. Soil quality sometimes does not meet target ranges and we are losing soils to erosion, development, and land fragmentation. Over time the area of highly productive land available for crops and livestock has decreased.

Biodiversity and land-based ecosystems (Tupuārangi)

Biodiversity and land-based ecosystems (Tupuārangi) provide us with food, medicines, and materials. Access to nature and greenspaces has wellbeing benefits, decreasing stress levels and increasing attention, cognitive function, and memory. Access to greenspace is limited and unevenly distributed, especially in urban areas. In recent years native forest cover has remained fairly static overall, but with increases in some regions and losses in others. The majority of our rare ecosystems are threatened. Habitat destruction, along with the introduction of mammalian predators, has severely reduced the populations of many unique birds, reptiles, and plants. Many remain threatened with extinction or are at risk of becoming threatened. Even small changes to our environment can have important consequences for ecosystems and species, and therefore our wellbeing.

Freshwater (Waitī)

Freshwater (Waitī) is vital to our wellbeing through health, cultural identity, food harvesting, and recreation. Our freshwater sources are degraded in areas where land has been transformed by human activities. Twenty-year trends show improvements in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations for river water quality at some sites, and worsening trends at others. We continue to see the loss of wetland ecosystems, with concerted efforts by communities to restore them.

Marine environment (Waitā)

The marine environment (Waitā) contributes to our wellbeing through providing food, opportunities for recreation, and cultural knowledge of ocean navigation. Coastal water quality is changing with variable trends in nutrient and sediment pollution, and the impacts of plastic waste on marine life. Climate change is affecting our oceans through ocean acidification and increased sea-surface temperatures, which will impact our marine ecosystems for generations.

Rain and frosts (Waipunarangi)

Rain and frosts (Waipunarangi) show that shifting rainfall patterns (along with warming temperatures) threaten our agricultural economy, native ecosystems, Māori customs, and impact our mental wellbeing. Short-term drought frequency is increasing in some parts of the country and glacier ice volumes are decreasing.

Air, winds, and the sky (Ururangi)

Air, winds, and the sky (Ururangi) demonstrate how our wellbeing is influenced by air quality and practices related to the observation of the winds and skies. Air quality is slowly improving across Aotearoa, but air pollution at monitored sites is above the World Health Organization 2021 guidelines for most air pollutants some of the time. Light pollution from urban areas impacts some of our native species (such as wētā) and reduces our ability to see the stars. For some people, wellbeing is connected to the ability to use the night sky as a guide, and to celebrate Matariki. Connecting with the night sky is a universal human experience associated with psychological benefits and an increased sense of responsibility towards te taiao.

Future outlook

Understanding future trends helps ensure the health of the environment and of future generations

Looking to the future (Hiwa-i-te-rangi) identifies many challenges that may impact the wellbeing of current and future generations. These include the impacts of climate change, population growth, risks to food and water security, and threats to ecosystems. The challenges ahead are complex and can play out in many ways, and sometimes beyond our direct control.

Making better decisions about our environment

Building a robust environmental monitoring and reporting system supports New Zealanders’ decisions and actions

The need for reform to better integrate the environment and intergenerational wellbeing in policy has been documented by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Over time this will require investment, research, and continuous innovation to build our knowledge base.

This report helps to transition us towards a new system of reporting that can empower us to create the future we want, for ourselves and for future generations.

Te Taiao Aotearoa 2022 Whakarāpopototanga

He mea whakaputa a Taiao Aotearoa 2022 e te Manatū mo te Taiao me Tatauranga Aotearoa i runga anō i te Ture Pūrongorongo Taiao 2015. Ko tā te pūrongo nei ka tukua i ia toru tau, he whakahiato i ngā taunakitanga mō te āhua o te taiao e mau mai ana ki ngā pūrongo whaitua kua hua ake mai i te putanga o Taiao Aotearoa 2019. Kāore te pūrongo e tāpae urupare i te mea e ai ki te ture nāna i tuhia ai te pūrongo, kei waho kē tērā o tōna hōkaitanga. He whakarāpopototanga kau tēnei o te pūrongo nui.

Ngā mea hou kei Taiao Aotearoa 2022

He tūhura tā Taiao Aotearoa 2022 i te hiranga o te taiao i tō tātou oranga, tae atu ki te oranga tinana

E toru tau kua taka mai i tō mua atu pūrongo mō te taiao, ā, kāore he rerekētanga nui i ngā tohuine taiao. Heoi anō, kua rerekē te āhua o tā mātou tirotiro me tā mātou whakaemi i ngā taunakitanga.

Ko tā Taiao Aotearoa 2022, he titiro ki ngā panonitanga taiao i te horopaki o ō tātou oranga – oranga takitahi, ā-whānau, ā-hapori anō hoki. Kua whakakaongia ētahi taunakitanga matahuhua nō roto mai i te mātauranga Māori, i te mātauranga taiao, i te pūtaiao hauora me te taha ōhanga.

Ko tā te ahunga kōtuitui o tēnei pūrongo me tana arotahinga ki te oranga, he āwhina i a tātou ki te huritao i ō tātou hononga ki te taiao me ngā pānga o ā tātou mahi ki te taiao.

He kōkiri tonu tā te pūrongo i te noho mai o te mātauranga Māori ki ngā pūrongorongo mō te taiao

He wehenga rangahau hihiri tonu te rapa māramatanga mō te wāhi ki te mātauranga Māori hei taki i ngā pūrongo taiao. E mahi ana tēnei pūrongo kia tuawhiti ake te mōhio me pēhea te kōtuitui i ngā momo mātauranga rerekē ki ngā mahi pūrongorongo hei ngā rā e heke mai nei.

Taiao Aotearoa 2022, kua tīkina atu Te Kāhui o Matariki hei tātai i ngā taunakitanga o te pūrongo. Koia tētahi o ngā tino tohu o te tau hou Māori. E whakanui ana i ngā mea kua riro me ngā awhero anō mō ngā rā kei tua i te awe māpara. E tohu ana ia whetū o te kāhui i tētahi hononga o te tangata ki te taiao. I runga i tēnei aro ki te ao Māori, kua mānawatia te haere kōtui o ngā wāhanga katoa o te taiao, tae atu ki te tangata. He tātai hoki hei tūhono i a tātou katoa ki te whenua nei, ki Aotearoa.

Te noho ora me te hononga ki te taiao

Ka ora te taiao, ka ora te tangata

I Taiao Aotearoa 2022, he wāhanga tonu, he huānga tonu te tangata nō te taiao.

He rerekē tēnei mea te noho ora ki tēnā, ki tēnā o tātou. Waihoki, he matahuhua, he hurihuri anō hoki te āhua o tā tātou tautuhi, tā tātou titiro ki ō tātou hononga ki ērā atu hanga katoa o te ao tūroa.

I te mātauranga Māori, he āhua rite te kupu ‘waiora’ ki te noho ora. E mea ana kei te wai te oranga mō te tangata. E kitea ana i konei te hononga o te oranga o te tangata me te taiao.

He whakaemi tā Taiao Aotearoa 2022 i ngā ariā matahuhua o te noho ora i te horopaki o te taiao. Māna e tuawhiti ake ai tō tātou mārama ki ō tātou tini hononga ki te taiao.

Ngā kitenga matua mō te taiao me te noho ora

I te nohonga o te tini tāngata ki te mata o te whenua, kua rerekē te āhua o ngā mea e ngaro ana me ngā pēhanga ki ngā momo, ki ngā pūnaha hauropi anō (ko Pōhutukawa te whetū e tohu ana i ēnei āhuatanga). Ngaro atu ana he whakatupuranga, tukua iho ana he pānga ki te taiao. Ko ētahi, ko ngā pēhanga o te panoni me te whakangoto ake i te whakamahinga whenua, ko te parahanga, ko te whakapaunga i te rawa māori, ko te huri haere o te āhuarangi me ngā momo urutomo.

He tautoko tonu tā te whenua me te oneone (e tohua ana e Tupuānuku) i te ōhanga, i te whakatupunga kai, i tō tātou hauora anō. Ko ngā oneone kei te whakamatua i te rere o te taiora, o te tāhawa me te wai. He wā anō kāore i te eke te kounga o te oneone ki ngā keonga kua whakaritea, ka mutu kei te ngaro haere he whenua i te ngāhorohorotanga, i ngā whakawhanaketanga me te whakarikirikitanga o te whenua. I te takanga o te wā kua iti ake ngā whenua haumako e wātea ana mō te mahi māra me te whakatupu kararehe.

Ahu mai ai te kai, ngā rongoā me ngā rawa i te koiora kanorau me ngā pūnaha hauropi ki uta (e tohua ana e Tupuārangi). He painga taha hauora mō te tangata i te noho wātea mai o te ao tūroa me ngā whaitua matomato ki a ia.

Tērā ka heke te pōkaikaha, ka kaha ake te aro ki te mahi kei mua i te aroaro, ka pai ake anō hoki te hirikapo, me te maumahara. Heoi anō, kua whāiti, kua pāhikahika hoki te hora o ngā whaitua matomato, mātua rā i ngā tāone. I ngā tau tata nei kua āhua pūmau te rahi o te whenua e kākahuria ana ki te wao māori, engari kua nui ake i ētahi rohe, kua iti iho i ētahi. Ko te nuinga o ngā pūnaha hauropi onge, kei te noho mōrearea. Nā te korenga o ētahi nōhanga me te taenga mai o ētahi konihi whāngote, kua kaha heke ngā taupori o te maha atu o ngā momo manu, mokomoko, tipu ahurei. Ko ētahi kei te korokoro tonu o te parata, ko ētahi e nui ana te tūpono ka noho mōrearea. Ahakoa panoni iti ki te taiao, he pānga nui pea tōna ki ngā pūnaha hauropi me ngā momo, otirā ki tō tātou noho ora.

Kāore i tua atu i te wai māori (e tohua ana e Waitī) e noho ora ai tātou, mā roto mai i te hauora tonu, i te tuakiri ahurea, i te mahi kai me ngā mahi pārekareka. Kua hē ō tātou mātāpuna wai māori i ngā whenua kua rerekē i ngā mahi a te tangata. I runga i ngā ia o te rua tekau tau ka taha, kua heke te rahi o te hauota me te pūtūtaewhetū i ngā wai o ngā awa i ētahi wāhi, engari kua piki i ētahi atu. Kei te ngaro haere tonu ētahi pūnaha hauropi i ngā repo, ahakoa ngā mahi nui a ētahi ki te whakaora ake i ngā repo.

He takoha anō tā te taiao ki tai (e tohua ana e Waitā) ki te oranga o te tangata, mā roto i te horanga o te kai, i ngā mahi pārekareka me ngā mātauranga ā-iwi e pā ana ki te whakatere waka i te aumoana. Kei te panoni te kounga o ngā wai o te takutai; e taurangi ana ngā ia mō te wāhi ki ngā parahanga taiora, parataiao, ā,me kōrero anō te pānga o ngā para kirihou ki ngā tini a Tangaroa. Nā te āhuarangi hurihuri, kua piki haere te waikawa o ngā moana, kua mahana ake hoki te mata o te wai; haere he reanga, haere he reanga, ka ngau tonu ngā pānga o ēnei āhuatanga ki ngā pūnaha hauropi ki tai.

Mō te wāhi ki te ua me te hukapapa (e tohua ana e Waipunarangi), kei te panoni ngā tauira ua. I te haere kōtui o tērā ki te piki haere o te paemahana, kua noho mōrearea te ōhanga ahuwhenua, ngā pūnaha hauropi māori, ngā tikanga Māori, ā, kua pā hoki he kino ki te hauora taha wairua, taha hinengaro. Kei te auau ake te pā o te tauraki poto ki ētahi wāhi, ā, e hoki haere ana ngā awa kōpaka.

Ko te hau takiwā, ngā hau a Tāwhiri me te rangi (e tohua ana e Ururangi) e whakaatu ana i te pānga mai o te kounga o te hau takiwā me ngā ritenga e pā ana ki te mātaitanga o ngā hau a Tāwhiri me te rangi ki tō tātou noho ora. Kei te āta piki haere te pai o te hau takiwā huri noa i Aotearoa, engari i ētahi wāhi inea ai te parakino, i ōna wā anō, mō te nuinga o ngā parakino ā-hau, kei runga ake te nui o te parakino i tērā i aratohua e te World Health Organisation i te 2021. Arā hoki te parakino ā-aho o ngā tāone he whakararu tāna i ētahi momo māori (pērā i te wētā), he whakararu hoki i te kitenga atu o ngā whetū. Ā, ko tētahi puna ora mō ētahi tāngata, ko te whirinaki ki te rangi pō hei kaitohu, hei kaiārahi, hei whakanui anō hoki i a Matariki. Ko te aro nui ki te rangi ka pō ana tētahi tino wheako o tāua te tangata, e hua mai ai he painga taha hinengaro, e mārama ake ai te tangata ki te pīkaunga kei runga i a ia ki te tiaki i te taiao.

Te titiro ki tua

Mā te mārama ki ngā ia kei tua e pūmau ai te hauora o te taiao me ngā whakatupuranga kei tua

Mā te aro ki ngā rā e heke mai nei (e tohua ana e Hiwa-i-te- rangi) e tautohua ai ngā whakatatara maha tērā ka pā mai ki te noho ora o ngā reanga o nāianei me ō muri ake. Koia ētahi, ko ngā pānga ki te āhuarangi hurihuri, ki te tupu o te taupori, ko ngā tūraru o te takuhe taha kai, taha wai, me ngā raru tērā ka pā ki ngā pūnaha hauropi. He matatini ngā whakatatara kei mua i te aroaro; tē mōhiotia ka pēhea rawa te tatūnga, ka mutu, ko ētahi, e kore e taea e tātou te āta whakarerekē.

Kia pai ake ngā whakatau mō te taiao

Mā te hanga pūnaha ruarangi hei aroturuki, hei pūrongorongo i te taiao, ka tautokona ngā whakatau me ngā mahi a ngā tāngata o Aotearoa

Kua tūtohi te Kaikomihana Pāremata mō te Taiao me whakapai ake te haere kōtui o te taiao me te oranga tuku iho i roto i ngā kaupapa-here. Hei te takanga o te wā, me kuhu he moni, me rangahau, me rite tonu anō hoki te komo atu i te whakaaro auaha, hei whakatupu i te mātauranga e pā ana ki ēnei āhuatanga.

Ko tā te pūrongo nei, he whakamāmā i te whakawhitinga ki tētahi pūnaha pūrongo hou e kaha ake ai te āhei ki te waihanga i te anamata e wawatatia ana e tātou mō tātou anō, otirā mō ngā uri whakaheke.

Ngā hono ki ngā kōrero raraunga hou katoa

Ngā tohuine kua whakahoutia mō Taiao Aotearoa 2022


Correction: 21 June 2022

We have corrected a sentence on page 20 of Environment Aotearoa 2022. The sentence originally said: For instance, fertilisation of agricultural land impacts soil heath and leaches into waterways. It now says: For instance, fertilisation of agricultural land and urine from livestock impacts soil health and leaches nitrogen into waterways.

We have corrected the infographic text on page 23 of Environment Aotearoa 2022. The label that originally said: Run-off now says: Run-off and leaching.

We have corrected a sentence on page 41 of Environment Aotearoa 2022. The sentence originally said: Many of our lakes and rivers have unnaturally high levels of nutrients, which can come from urban or agricultural run-off. It now says: Many of our lakes and rivers have unnaturally high levels of nutrients due to leaching and run-off from urban or agricultural sources.

We have corrected the infographic text on page 45 of Environment Aotearoa 2022. The label that originally said: Run-off from livestock now says: Livestock urine and faeces. It now also includes labels for run-off and leaching.

We have corrected a sentence on page 76 of Environment Aotearoa 2022. The acknowledgements have been corrected to include Nelson City Council.

Correction: 6 June 2023

We have corrected figure 8: PM₁₀ trends, 2011–20. Stats NZ updated the trend methodology for the PM₁₀ concentrations indicator in October 2022 and we are updating the related figure in this report to ensure consistency with the updated indicator.