After a 7 hour drive, we made it to Palmerston North.
We had a few assumptions going into this hui, after having been informed there was a Climate Change Debate happening on the same day, at the same time. We assumed this would be a smaller gathering.
We arrived at the Community House of Palmerston North, and was welcomed by the programme manager, who led us to our room.
At around 6:00pm people began to arrive, 30 mins before the event was scheduled to begin.
There was candidates from local parties, who wished to make an appearance, before they apologised as they looked to go to the Climate Change Debate, scheduled for the same time.
We had 4 panelists:
The panelist spoke on a range of topics, with varying emotion.
Marnie began, sharing her passion for cleaning our rivers, and keeping them clean. She was frustrated by the struggle for positive change, feeling that these conversations have been going on for so long and things are moving very slowly. Corporates with money invested are continuing to prevent change, they have the money to keep delaying the conversation. It is not in their best interest for these large corporations to see change because they make money off the products that are causing harm to the environment. She was shocked by some organisations responses to the disastrous situation of climate change, and how people can be thinking of how they can make money off the situation. We heard her pain from not being heard by this part of the sector. Her passion inspired others and invited conversation & discussion.
Kate then spoke a lot to Marnie’s frustration from the perspective of a researcher, currently working within public-body entity. She shared her frustrations, desires and hopes for the rivers. But she could see that there is progress taking place. She felt frustration from the systems in place that are preventing good work from going through however.
Nalini brought a slightly broader touch to the conversation, talking about how our systems are designed, the opportunity that young people possess, and the existing narratives that are at play that reinforce the degradation of our land & water. Nalini having done a lot of work around the world in this space (especially in the Amazon) spoke of how we can learn from indigenous cultures, and working with nature. She shared some great work being done.
Paul spoke from the heart, sharing stories of his upbringing, work and challenges being a pakeha representative for a local marae. He spoke about a ‘cleansing’ of his privilege, in order to connect more authentically and meaningfully with the systemically oppressed counterparts, to be able to create from a more compassionate place. He spoke positively about how government is working.
After our 4 speakers, with the last 40 minutes, entered into our first Unconference of the roadshow, where Kiran invited all participants of the hui, to reflect on a particular challenge, conversation or discussion they’d like to learn more about, talk about or be a part of. Then to write the topic down on a post-it note, before passing it to Kiran and announcing what that topic was to the group.
Kiran then split the room into two, and with the 40 minutes created, created 2 sessions, effectively 2 conversations happening at the same time. Meaning there was 4 slots for audience/unconference session to be had. We had a conversations on System Change & Collapse, and Science within Farming Practices.
The conversations were well received, and gave the opportunity for the audience to really have their voice heard and shared. As expected there was a number of conversations and a range of topics that came up.
It played to the strengthen, reinforcing the need to break up into small groups, the centralised the common theme of bettering the treatment of our land & water.
A wide but beautiful and intimate roundtable conversation about our Land & Water. With a systems-wide view, and a heartfelt stories, it was a night of emotion. The unconference, led the group to draw on specific stories, or frustrations and led to the group becoming closer. To a point where everyone felt the need to say goodbye to everyone in the room before they left, which showed the special relationship that was built in that setting.
Sam Hogg, an organic dairy farmer and participant in the hui said how interesting the conversation topics that came up were. “I learnt a lot about dung beetles, and appreciated the opportunity to learn and participate in an open positive conversation.”
Marnie said the night “had given her energy and restored her faith in humanity”.
With confidence about the diversity and power in the conversation, and importance of the unconference, we endeavoured to ensure that we bring that out and allow for time for further ‘Unconferencing’ in Wellington and Christchurch.
The next morning, we woke up to a break, where we could re-group recover from lack of sleep, fatigue, and energy loss. Enjoy a sleep-in and short drive to Wellington, before an event the following day in the Capital.
See the vlog for day three here. Read more about day four here.
More on the panelists
is Choose Clean Water NZ spokesperson and an Agricultural Science student at Massey University.
"Choose Clean Water NZ is a student led organisation campaigning for strong freshwater policy to protect the health of Aotearoa New Zealand's people, wildlife and environment.
The Choose Clean Water team have a background in ecology, agricultural science and environmental management.
In 2016, they presented a 13,000-signature petition to parliament calling for swimmable the minimum standard for rivers and lakes in opposition to the Government's proposed "wadeable" bottom line. The petition also called for the priority of New Zealand's National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management to be the health of people, wildlife and the environment. "
Nalini Singh is a scientist, facilitator and artist and speaks 5 languages. She has volunteered and led projects in over ten NGOs and youth organisations, representing the voice of NZ youth in five continents, interacting with 8000 change-agents from 180 countries and most recently disappeared into the Amazon and Andes of South America to volunteer for two years. Named Runner Up for the Queen's Young Leaders' Award in 2015, Nalini now hopes to study a Masters in Integrative Ecosocial Design from Gaia University.
Rangitaane (Local iwi) Environmental officer - protecting over 440,000Ha tribal area in the for Rangitaane.
Kate has 15 years of experience in freshwater environmental impact assessment, freshwater plan development, water quality and ecological monitoring. She has development expertise in iwi values assessment and tangata whenua resource management. She has particular skills in the interface between policy and science, with the ability to implement science in a real-world context. In recent years, Kate has assisted a number of iwi with the development of Māori water management frameworks and tools, and has worked at the national level representing stakeholder interests in the National Objectives Framework for supporting the NPS Freshwater. With Kate’s experience before the Environment Court, as an expert witness and as a Commissioner, she is able to assist authorities and clients to address freshwater matters in almost any forum. Kate is an executive member of the Freshwater Sciences Society, and leads a number of national education programmes in the freshwater planning space. Kate has worked with The Catalyst Group for 5 years. The Catalyst Group is a multi-disciplinary company providing strategic and environmental management advice.