Rangatahi’s voices will be heard alongside the world’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders during APEC’s voices at this year’s upcoming summit.
The summit, which is being hosted by Aotearoa, was launched this week online due to Covid-19.
It brings together young people from across the Asia-Pacific region to share their whakaaro on the great problems facing the world.
These include the impact of Covid-19, sustainability and climate change, digital futures, and international cooperation between nations.
Te Rangitūkupu is the APEC Māori association group that has selected eight rangatahi to attend.
Rangatahi’s representative Te Aonui Wharawhara Muriwai (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāpuhi, Taranaki, Ngāti Hinerangi, Ngāti Raukawa) said that he is passionate about helping Maori.
He is currently studying at the University of Waikato, where he mentors other Maori Taouira.
Muriwai hopes that the summit will offer the opportunity to represent and inspire young Maori to realize their potential.
“My passion is helping Maori and inspiring Maori Taouira to realize their true potential, which led me to this forum or this opportunity.”
“For us, as Maori Rangatahi, it gives us the opportunity to represent other minority groups and give them a voice because in big events our indigenous perspective is not really taken into account.”
Muriwai seeks to offer kōrero around digital futures and how digital exclusion can affect minority groups.
Sharing new and diverse perspectives related to kaupapa, such as digital futures, is something that he believes is important, as it is the younger generations that will face the results of these problems in the near future.
“The voices of the future event gives young people the opportunity to give our opinions and perspectives.
“The reason I think it’s important to have a youth perspective is because in the demographics of Asia and the Pacific, young people actually make up a third of the population and many of these issues, all the decisions that we make now we will affect in the future
“It gives us the opportunity to ensure that our voices are heard and that our unique perspectives are recognized to help shape a better future for New Zealand,” he said.
Te Aniwaniwa Devine Paterson (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa), who is also part of the group, said that she is passionate about creating conversations related to the issues facing communities.
He said that working with others, especially other Maori Rangatahi is something he has appreciated during the summit as everyone has supported and encouraged each other.
“I always prefer to work within a collective and especially with Rangatahi Māori because we all come from different backgrounds.
“It is really amazing to see the diversity among the Maori and the multitudes of voices rather than a homogenized view of Māoritanga.
“It is a true privilege to work, learn, teach and collaborate.”
Devine has worked in the arts, activism, media, and fundraising for indigenous kaupapa, with the ambition to help support and advocate for indigenous groups.
She was eager to contribute to future initiatives focused during the summit with the goal of promoting inclusion and diversity.
“We can help contribute to APEC because we already embody this idea of a global and united forum, as Maori often work as a collective and embody the tikanga of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and us wānanga.
“It is something we live, do and breathe every day, working together as one,” he said.
Chairing the Te Rangitūkupu group are Traci Houpapa and Pita Tipene.
Houpapa said that this year’s APEC event was designed and held together with the Maori as part of Aotearoa’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.
He said that Te Rangitūkupu as a working group would help ensure that the Maori voice and vision were integrated into the discussions.
“For Te Rangitūkupu, we were really interested in making sure our Maori Rangatahi were part of the conversation advising APEC.
“We are focused on international cooperation to combat Covid-19, environmental stewardship, digital futures and ensure that we can grow all of our economies and create opportunities for all of our people, including indigenous and First Nations people.”
Tipene said they were excited to see the Rangatahi gain knowledge from the conference.
He thought it was great to see a generation of capable young people connecting with APEC leaders.
“We are excited about them and the insights they will gain about the complexities of a global system. This experience will broaden their perspective and knowledge.
“It is great to see a generation of confident, capable and committed young people connecting with APEC leaders and using their experience to help navigate the next two decades. These Rangatahi show enormous potential as the next wave of Maori leaders.”