Day three of the workshop started back at the McGuinness Institute. The participants got into their groups and reflected on what they learnt over the past two days. Each participant thought about the key insights that resonated with them, and envisioned how they wanted to communicate their ideas to the public at the Government House finale event that evening.
After spending the morning at the Institute going over their final preparations, participants headed over to Government House. When they arrived, the participants were fortunate enough to have a Q&A session with Hon Aupito William Sio, Minister for Pacific Peoples. Participants engaged with the Minister by asking questions such as ‘how can we include Māori and Pacific values into our climate change policies?’ and ‘what advice do you give to young people engaging in politics?’ This was a unique opportunity for New Zealand youth to converse directly with a Member of Parliament in such a significant setting.
In the afternoon, workshop participants met with Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General. Her Excellency presented each participant with a certificate, and congratulated them for the hard-work and passion they had expressed throughout the workshop.
At 5.30pm, guests started arriving to Government House, and participants greeted their family and friends. Honourable guests included Hon Aupito William Sio, Minster for Pacific Peoples, His Excellency Mr Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan, High Commissioner of Samoa, and wife Mrs Joyce Scanlan, and Pastor Jonathan Su’a and wife Lama Su’a.
Her Excellency welcomed everyone to Government House, and praised the participants for being engaged in such an important and pressing issue. Her Excellency stated:
Pacific Island peoples do not have the luxury of putting off thinking about the impact of global heating. They don’t have the time to speculate about what technological innovations might be developed to deal with carbon emissions. They are already dealing with rising sea levels, storm surges, bleached coral, salivation of agricultural land, and the loss of ancestral homelands.
There is no place for wilful ignorance. Our best hope is that the rapid shift in attitudes towards global heating and climate crisis will accelerate and translate into lifestyle changes that will result in lower carbon emissions.
Today’s forum is part of that process. I have no doubt that the people presenting today will be leading the charge for change, and that their commitment will be contagious.
Wendy McGuinness then thanked Her Excellency and guests for attending the finale presentation of KiMuaNZ, and emphasised the enthusiasm and drive that the participants had showcased throughout the three days. Wendy then welcomed the participants onto the stage to give their presentations.
The participants’ presentations centred on the following quote:
I stand as one. I come as many.
There were a range of different presentations, from poetry and song to a direct call to action to the audience. The presentations concluded with a beautiful waiata, Tiaho Maira, sung by the participants. A video of the presentations will be available on our YouTube channel within the next month.
The participants then presented Her Excellency with an artwork by artist and workshop participant Hulita Koloi.
A note from the artist: The role of plastic within Pasifika communities has grown through traditional craft, ceremony and celebration… Local businesses have appropriated Pacific life, creating an unlimited supply of affordable and accessible plastic products. Our people are buying into the convenience of plastic that has devalued our culture, while destroying our natural environment. The feta’aki (raw tapa cloth), was prepared by my relatives in Tonga. Five thousand plastic red flowers, 1000 resealable bags and 15 yarns of nylon were all bought from the local Savemart in Glen Innes. The five chosen bible verses speak about greed – one of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’.
The presentation was followed by canapés and refreshments, providing a chance for guests to wander through the rooms of Government House. Photos of the event can be found on the Governor-General’s website here.