Emily Māia Weiss

Ngāti Pāoa


I am Swiss-Māori, an Uri o Ngāti Pāoa, a descendant from Waiheke, Te Motu Arai Roa, a proud takataapui kaitiaki.

The karanga of the moana bought me back.

I am one of many kaitiaki who we have already seen and will continue to see standing up and standing in the way of environmental violence, colonialism and all of its slimy tentacles. We will be fighting like hammerhead sharks. “Kaua e mate wheke, me mate ururoa.” - do not die like an octopus, die like a hammerhead shark.

On a bigger scale, we are fighting for our planet, as the timeline of “climate disasters in the future” collapses and greets the shores of our island as a reality every morning. This is the reason I am still here. On a smaller scale, we are part of the many who are reigniting the passion to protect. We are re-binding the points of connection that have been intentionally tempered with through colonialism, binding us to our oneness, to te taiao, to all people and existence around us.

#ProtectPūtiki is one of the many Māori and indigenous kaupapa protecting our local environments and historical taonga. We are knitted together within the community by the generational long mahi of Piritahi marae and the many people who have sown the seeds of te ao Māori around Waiheke, growing the ripe potential for Māori-non Māori solidarity in protecting this island.*

I am the change I seek. Through language, breath and presence, ancestral stories and reconnection with our whakapapa, we walk back into the awareness our tūpuna already lived in, embodying a harmony once again and magnifying this for others to join us in. This reality has to be practised, protected and paced towards in a collective manner *Our unity is grounded in and moving towards Te Ao Māori is the way back to peace, balance, and the level of protection that our island and entire environment urgently need.