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Our future – A young Aucklander walking the climate action talk

Published: 29 July 2019

Buua Redfern is the 18-year old creator of SAYE (South Auckland Young Environmentalists), an organisation for young enthusiasts of south Auckland to connect and grow their environmental passions. SAYE aims to give south Aucklanders a positive platform to network and discuss the environment and other societal issues.

In April 2019, Buua joined more than 100 rangatahi from across Auckland at the Conscious Climate Mana Rangatahi Summit to discuss and examine climate change issues and opportunities from a Te Ao Māori perspective.

We spoke with Buua about her strong focus on climate action and her hopes for Auckland’s climate future.

What interested you about being involved in the Conscious Climate Mana Rangatahi Summit?

It was a great opportunity to network with other people who are interested in action on climate change. Climate change and the environment is such an important part of my life and I wanted to be a part of a group of people who are as interested as I am. The conversations we had there were so great. We had such great wisdom and knowledge about the environment from a Te Ao Māori perspective shared with us by Māori leaders who attended the summit. We need to listen more to them!

What was something that surprised you about the summit?

There were primary students at the summit and I was amazed that they were so knowledgeable and just as concerned as the rest of us about the future and making changes to help fight climate change.

What do you say to the people who have said that this year’s student climate strikes were just an excuse for students to get off school?

My friends are so concerned about the impacts of climate change. I can’t believe that this is what some people took away from the strikes, that is so irritating. The students and other young people I spoke with at the summit are truly concerned about the future of our planet and just want action. That should be the message people take from the student strikes.

What do you think about the council’s recent decision to declare a climate emergency?

I first saw the council had declared a climate emergency on Instagram and my first thoughts were FINALLY! ABOUT TIME! THANK YOU! And then I shared it with everyone I know.

What are three actions you want people to take now and, in the future, to help make our city more resilient to the impacts of climate change and to protect our environment?

Firstly, I would like electric cars to be an option for way more people. They need to be cheaper and their technology needs to improve so that they can go further. My family has an electric car now and its so much cheaper to run, we noticed the savings straight away.

Something else I want for Auckland, and its kind of cliché, but I just want single-use plastic out. It definitely has a purpose sometimes, but there are also alternatives a lot of the time.

And I want more education for people so that they understand the impacts of climate change and what they can do about it themselves. We are all responsible for the future.

A bit more about Buua

Buua has chosen to take a gap year to focus on her work with SAYE and develop her passion for environmental works within her community. With family still living in her parents’ home country of Kiribati, Buua is very conscious of the current and future impacts of rising sea-levels. Buua is determined to be a part of the solution and wants everyone to know that our future depends on climate action now.

To learn more about SAYE and how you can be involved, contact Buua via email at

Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Action Framework

Our climate is changing and the time for action is now. Tell us if we are heading in the right direction by having your say on Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Action Framework.

To read the framework and have your say, visit

Consultation closes on 6 September 2019.


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