UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders Morgan King and Brodie Cross report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Te Herenga hui in Porirua in March 2020. The purpose of the hui was to bring rangatahi Māori together to discuss the importance of involving youth when addressing current and future issues for our taiao (environment).
The hui had many participants from a wide range of backgrounds and iwi across the country. To enable inter-generational discussions iwi delegates and kaumātua were encouraged to invite rangatahi to participate. This move was a first for the organisation and helped strengthen the indigenous lens and enabled everyone to identify issues around the environment together.
Brodie said he felt this hui was especially important for UNESCO to be represented at as the kaupapa addressed youth engagement, environmental wellbeing and education. He noticed its relevance to the GCED and indigenous knowledge target areas. It was grounded in Te Ao Māori and drew on whakapapa (genealogy) as a means to activate our kaitiaki responsibilities toward our environment.
The Environmental Protection Authority will now undoubtedly use the collation of voices and views to continue their work of safeguarding our environment. Morgan and Brodie would like to extend their warm appreciation to the EPA and the people of Ngāti Toa for their hospitality.