Wananga 1

A new generation of environmental leaders is being shaped.

Earlier this year, Auckland Council’s Sustainable Schools team held a Young Leaders for Sustainability event that brought 45 rangatahi from around Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland together.

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia says there is value in his area’s contribution, through its Manukua Harbour Forum membership.

 “These young people, many from our area, are the ones who are going to lead us forward in the future, and they have a passion for the environment that we need to nurture.

“They spent the first day at Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae, where they had the opportunity to learn about its history and significance, and throughout the wānanga, the focus was on mātauranga Māori, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, leadership, climate action, developing action plans to care for the environment, and learning practical skills to care for the planet.

“The opportunities provided, not just by the wānanga but by the wider Sustainable Schools programme, are opening our young people’s eyes and minds to the role they play, and can play in the future, in improving the world we live in.”

Participants monitored water quality along the Manukau Harbour.

Participants monitored water quality along the Manukau Harbour.

The group also had the chance to explore the Puhinui awa and Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, and to go sea kayaking on the Manukau.

Manurewa Local Board forum representative Joseph Allan says the participants left feeling empowered and motivated to continue working towards a more sustainable future.

“The programme is an amazing opportunity for these young leaders to come together, learn, and take action for the betterment of the environment, and we acknowledge the role Sustainable Schools and Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae played in making the programme a success.”

Nine local boards – Franklin, Papakura, Manurewa, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Puketāpapa, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki, Waitakere Ranges and Whau – fund the forum’s work programme.

Hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders live along the harbour and forum chair and Puketāpapa Local Board member Jon Turner says its health is critical.

“It’s vital to the well-being of our people. Most of us are aware the harbour’s health has declined in the face of urbanisation, but there is work we can do now and in the future, and these young leaders will help with that.”

You can read a comprehensive report on the state of the harbour here [PDF], and find out more about the forum here

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