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Nevada Huaki-Foote

“He uri teenei noo Waikato-Tainui me Ngaati Porou.

Ko Ngaati Mahuta ki te Hauaauru, ko Ngaati Tamaoho, me Ngaati Koheriki ngaa hapuu.

Ko Mangatangi me Tahaaroa te whenua.”

Raised in the rural community of Mangatangi alongside her kaumatua (elders) and whaanau (family), Nevada was inspired by the environmental views from inspirational Maaori leaders. It is her aspiration to work towards a sustainable future in which the late Kiingi Taawhiao once saw at the beginning of the Kiingitanga, an educated future in which the late Kuiini Te Atairangikaahu saw for rangatahi Maaori, and a prosperous future for her marae which the late Princess Te Puea laid the foundations.

It was when Nevada was taught by her kaumatua the views of these inspirational Maaori leaders that she began to develop her passion and love for te taiao (the environment) and environmental awareness among rangatahi Maaori. As a result, Nevada pursued environmental planning at the University of Waikato and has experience in both planning and policy, working with Maaori and local government organisations.

Through these experiences, Nevada is aware of how unsustainable practices that have contributed to climate change have significantly impacted te taiao that are close to her heart. She has witnessed how indigenous voices are struggling to be recognized in policy and planning processes which here in Aotearoa ultimately affect how the government implement climate change initiatives. As a result, she has embraced her role as a kaitiaki (customary guardians) for te taiao especially in Mangatangi. She is extremely interested in focusing on how sustainability can be implemented at a global level through local solutions.

“Ultimately, I intend to restore and protect our environment. My degree has given me skills I can combine with the knowledge from my ancestors, to work toward ensuring iwi and hapuu become more involved in climate change decisions at the local and national level.”