Te Ara Whatu is jet set for UN Climate Change Conference

By Regan Paranihi

The first indigenous youth delegation from Aotearoa, Te Ara Whatu leaves for Germany today for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Te Ara Whatu is a small group of Māori and Pasifika looking at climate change issues through an indigenous lens.

For many years indigenous peoples of the Pacific have been suffering from the ashes of colonisation whilst under the leadership of the Crown. One of many ashes being the pollution of water, land and air. Today indigenous peoples of the world are paying the price of those actions through climate change.

The conference will give the group an opportunity to make strong networks with around 200 countries attending the conference. It will also give them a forum to voice their opinions in the hope that they can make a change for a better future.

Group member Maia Ratana says, she aims to influence the policy-making that happens while they're there, not just for Māori but for indigenous people around the world.

Te Ara Whatu said on their facebook page, "As indigenous peoples, as children of the Pacific, our paths are interwoven. Together, we walk a path forged long before us, a path that will continue long after us."