CONNECTED by the ocean and their concerns for the environment, 375 native climate activists met during a six-day summit at Te Kaha last week.
Organised by Te Kaha residents Ray Tukaki and Ora Barlow-Tukaki and their international band of climate brothers and environmental sisters, Redtide – the International Indigenous Climate Action Summit – started on May 1 and ran until May 6.
The first two days were focused on youth, with the Redtide Youth Conference held at Pahaoa Marae.
Summit spokeswoman Maryel Sparks-Cardinal said the youth conference attracted 100 participants.
“The conference hosted workshops where youth had the opportunity to explore GIS Google mapping, water testing, fish sampling, the Maori calendar, civil defence and the spoken word,” she said.
“These workshops all had a climate change focus to motivate youth to take actions against the climate crisis and prepare for the changing weather and waters.”
The powhiri for the main summit was held at the Te Kaha Marae.
Master of ceremonies Rawiri Waititi gave an interesting speech about how the Te Whanau-a-Apanui “whare” held together physically and spiritually.
Ms Sparks-Cardinal said the summit attracted indigenous peoples from across the globe with around 20 international delegates from North America, Samoa, Australia, Italy and Spain.
“The main summit featured talks from leading climate activists, scientists and indigenous knowledge keepers.”
The Redtide kaupapa brought in indigenous peoples from leading climate organisations around the world.
“This unique networking opportunity has sparked partnerships from across continents all with the common goal of taking action against the climate crisis,” Ms Sparks-Cardinal said.
Pacific Peoples’ Partnership executive director April Ingham said indigenous knowledge, innovations and solutions were “central to all our survival.”
“It’s critically important that we not reinvent the wheel when addressing the impacts of climate change, and this event delivered critical opportunities for exchange and mutual learning,” she said.
Ms Sparks-Cardinal said following the great success of Redtide, organisers and participants were determined to keep “this movement of exchange, learning and solidarity moving forward”.
“A small carved canoe from Ahousat Nation peoples in Canada was presented to local organiser, Toitoi Manawa Trust, and it will now symbolically travel to each international indigenous host community into the future,” she said.
“Its next stop may be in Australia, followed by Canada in 2020, and back to Te Kaha in 2021.”
Ms Sparks-Cardinal said she and all the other participants thanked Te Whanau-a-Apanui for welcoming them into their beautiful indigenous territories.
“Their hospitality and welcoming space has allowed our organisation to make incredible connections with indigenous climate justice organisations and people from across the world,” she said.