Te Awa Tupua on the World Stage

The unique relationship that we share with our Awa, and the approach that we have taken to protect it, has captured the hearts and minds of a global audience this month.

Ngā Tāngata Tiaki o Whanganui chairperson Sheena Maru was joined by Hayden Turoa on a short trip to Dubai to uphold the story of Te Awa Tupua that is encased in the Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion for Expo 2020.
 
Sheena said they escorted delegations through the pavilion and attended formal engagements to speak about the innate connection that we have with Te Awa Tupua.
 
“For the first time ever, our innate indigenous values Tupua te Kawa are now enshrined in legislation which puts our people at place in the picture,” she said.
 
“It’s about ensuring that their voices are heard when it comes to the health and wellbeing of the Awa and its people”.

They also led the whakatau for Te Aratini, a three-day festival aimed at championing indigenous trade and culture and building relationships between indigenous peoples.
 
Sheena said the indigenous people of the United Arab Emirates share similar values and concepts of whānaungatanga, rangatiratanga and kotahitanga.
 
“We have hope that when more people realise that we, indigenous people, have the solutions, that we will experience a paradigm shift of hearts and minds.
 
“In that, the current imbalance of power shifts and will result in approaches that ensure everyone is working towards a better future,” Sheena said.

Our involvement in this kaupapa dates back almost four years, well before Covid-19, and we feel privileged to attend and share our story internationally.

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