We embarked on this adventure, with our heads full of optimism, and are hearts full of passion, fueled by a crazy idea & the mission to see our environment flourish.
6 events, in 6 days, in 6 different places across the country.
It was crazy, and the weight of it was starting to seep in.
Auckland was first up, and thankfully we had confirmed the venue earlier in the week. This gave us around 3 days to sell tickets, get people there, and bring the right panel members to the circle.
We were hosting it at the beautiful, newly developed Sustainable Coastlines ‘Flagship Education Centre’.
We had confirmed 4 panellists;
Briar Wyatt Rose
Delwyne & Rodger
All of which we were incredibly excited for; knowing that all of them could share from a differing perspective on issues around Land & Water.
On a cold winter’s night, around 24 people gathered, after mixing over Pizza & Sushi, we were ready to go!
Tui welcomed everyone, and gave a rundown of why we were here together, and what was going to take place over the next 2 hours.
Britt who joined the team early on, took the responsibility of allowing people to introduce themselves, and settle into the space and hui. She invited people to share a memory, story or connection to a piece of land or water that they were or are individually connected to.
It brought up stories of people's’ love for NZ, it took people back to their childhood memories, places like; Ihaumuto in Mangere were mentioned, Mount Ngauruhoe, Bethells Beach, even rivers or streams that people used to play in.
After that round of introduction; Tui invited all 4 panelists to share their concerns, hopes & dreams for the environment.
Rebecca Mills started; She talked about the urgency of the environmental crisis, and how the current solutions aren’t hitting the mark. She got out a piece of paper, where the night before had typed out what here dreams, hopes & aspirations for the environment. “I wanted to speak from the heart, but also really wanted to share what I really felt as this is really important topic for me”. Rebecca having worked in this space on very high level strategic projects around the world was a wealth of knowledge.
Bhakti Patel spoke next and shared her; Bhakti, shared that her perspective would be coming from her interest and research in Marine Biology. Bhakti’s passion lies in the ocean and she shared information that many of us were unaware of. “Half of the oxygen available to us has been produced by phytoplankton – which means that every other breath of air we take comes from microscopic organisms in the ocean.” She spoke of the challenges that are facing these organisms, but also of a lot of great research and projects that are underway.
Briar Wyatt Rose shared from her perspective as a Zero Waste Graduate Auckland Council. Briar is also the president of the student-led organisation Plastic Diet that was instrumental in the policy change to ban Micro-beads across NZ. Briar talked of her trip to COP, the UN Climate change negotiations. She shared the quesiton of “how do we get more people seeing the urgency and taking action?” This is such a pressing conversation to be had to preserve our land and water. She spoke of the effects climate change is having on these beloved parts of our lives.
Delwyne & Rodger shared as members of project SOUL; Save Our Unique Landscape. Sharing the current situation that’s occuring in Mangere, were Fletcher’s construction is preparing to build houses on sacred land. SOUL has just been to the UN to fight for the land rights. Delwyn and Rodger shared their love for the land and the importance of stewardship, as past generations have stewarded the land for future generations. They spoke of the importance of this in maori culture, something we can very much learn from.
Though briefed to talk for 5-10 minutes, in combination with the introduction circle, we were at 8:15pm when the panel discussion finished. This didn’t leave us enough time to go into small groups and discuss the topics that arose in depth. Kiran, who took the responsibility for the ‘unconference’ section opened the space for anyone in the audience, to think about next steps, and/or projects & ideas that should be recognised more.
Auckland was a gathering that sparked new relationships, a fascinating showcase of perspectives from Science, Activist, NGO/Govt & Business backgrounds around the topics of Land & Water.
A member of the circle, took the responsibility of creating a gathering post- the hui to continue the conversation. Bhakti shared the opportunity for people to get involved with the Sir Peter Blake Trust where she works. SOUL invited people to come along and visit Ihaumuto, where they are campaigning against the Fletcher’s Buildings.
Though most important, the greatest outcome, was that it reminded people of their love for the Land & Water, and gave people a platform to share stories and memories of times where they were connected to land & water.
If we can remind people of their inner most important values, it allows us collectively & individually to take action, behave most sustainably, and in alignment with what’s important to us, the protection & conservation of our environment.
This being the first Hui, we took many learnings about the most effective way to utilise the two hours of the event. We really valued the unconference space to enable everyone in the room to share from their experiences and wanted to ensure we allowed more time for this at future Hui.
See the vlog for day one here. Read more about day two here:
More on the panelists:
Rebecca works with people and organisations who want to have positive impact at pace and scale. She's known for my abilities to create practical, future proofed, transformative solutions that can be immediately implemented. Her methods have been proven to create prosperity for entrepreneurs and established businesses, cities and sectors.
As a transformation strategy and innovation specialist, she's played central and founding roles in a number of initiatives at the global forefront of the 'impact' space. Along with her consulting work, she's also a Professional Director, enjoying the value she can bring through governance.
In simple terms, she helps people create ventures that have real, maximum and meaningful impact (for themselves and the world). She shares her knowledge, processes and global networks with those she works with, allowing them to achieve rapid traction with relative ease.
Delwyne & Rodger
Delwyne & Rodger Roberts are of Ngāpuhi, Ngati Mahuta. They are from the social justice campaign known as Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) to protect their confiscated ancestral lands from a housing development proposed by Fletcher Building Limited. They currently occupy the land under threat at Ihumātao in Mangere because of its significance to her cultural and the history of Aotearoa.
Bhakti is an environment programme manager at The Sir Peter Blake Trust. The Sir Peter Blake Trust delivers programmes that continue Sir Peter’s legacy of leadership and environmental action. These programmes includes the Youth EnviroLeaders’ Forum, Young Blake Expeditions, Blake Ambassadors, and Environmental Educator. Bhakti obtained her Masters degree from the University of Auckland, Leigh Marine Lab specialising in Marine science. Prior to joining the trust she was a Marine Biology Technician and Ecology Team Leader at the University of Auckland where she was a diver and skipper- providing technical support in the lab and in the field.
Briar Rose Wyatt
Briar is currently a Waste Solutions Graduate at Auckland Council, she's been over to the COP Climate Talks and is extremely passionate about environmental justice, particularly with regards to waste issues. Other particular areas of interest include human rights and social justice, science communications and film. "I've moved from a campaigning and activist background to try my hand in the public sector."