I feel like all the parts of my life have strangely come together, for this purpose, this kaupapa, to protect our whenua, Ihumatao. In this moment I feel like I’m doing what I was born to do, kaitiakitanga, with my tupuna beside me, guiding me. My childhood was a struggle but I never focused on the negative. I was moved from home to home, living with a lot of different people, but I was fortunate to stay true to my Maoritanga. At the age of nine I wrote in a time capsule at Kura that I wanted to be a lawyer to make a difference. I worked hard to achieve that, but now I have temporarily given up my career in law to carry this kaupapa and fulfill my responsibility to the environment and the future generations. My mates are working, having families, travelling, or out partying but I have had to sacrifice those for hui and obligations to the occupation. I don’t regret it though, because this kaupapa is so important, not just for me, but for my nieces and nephews, our whanau – for everything I do is for them. I have had to step out of my comfort zone and have been challenged a lot, but I know these experiences will make me stronger and the work I’m involved with will contribute to a better Aotearoa.

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