Climate Change Pushing more Samoans into NZ Seasonal Work

Dr Christina Tausa

A new study has revealed that more Samoans are taking up seasonal work in New Zealand to provide for their families, as the effects of climate change continue to ravage the Pacific region.

Research by Dr Christina Tausa from the University of Canterbury revealed seasonal work in New Zealand was becoming more attractive as Pacific Islanders looked to adapt to climate change. The Samoan government, however, recently limited the number of seasonal workers to New Zealand and Australia with only one flight each month, after concerns were raised about the scheme.

Tausa recently returned from a two-week research trip to Samoa, where she interviewed at least 20 families about the impacts of climate change and adaptations being made, drawing from indigenous knowledge. She called on the Global North to commit to the promises of the Paris Agreement at COP27 in Egypt.

In Samoa, Tausa said, land was becoming harder to plant on and food in the ocean was scarce. She said people had adapted by planting crops further inland, but some must walk for several hours to work the land. Villages were shrinking due to erosion from the sea, and there was an increased sea spray necessitating replacing iron roofs every year or every six months, rather than every five years.

Tausa’s research was a part of a Pacific-led, multidisciplinary project investigating all aspects of climate across 16 Pacific countries.