“Te Moana Nui a Hiva is a family. Our many islands are connected by our one Pacific Ocean, as her tide laps at each of our shores.”
We are sea people, and Moana is our mother. She has nurtured each of us as a loving parent: providing our first breath, livelihood and everything we needed to prosper. She is alive, she gave us life, and we belong to her. With belonging to her comes rights and responsibilities. Her mana is our mana. Her mauri is our mauri.
Today, she speaks to us of her deep pain. Her children stolen by overfishing, poisoned by plastic, or blocked from their ancient migration paths. The hurt in her belly from seafloor dredging. Her life-sustaining coral forests, dying. She struggles to breathe in a warming, acidifying and polluted environment”.
Recently, we Pacific representatives, came together to hui for our Moana at ‘Taiātea: an ocean gathering’. Hosted by Ngāti Kuri, we sought to connect, share, learn and plan. There, we agreed the significance of our relationship with and intimate knowledge of our Moana will no longer be dulled by letting others speak on our behalf. And we felt the overwhelming urgency of the situation before us, but saw the potential in working together, embracing shared aspirations, recognising the value of traditional knowledge and the importance of elevating indigenous leadership.
We gathered again in Tahiti as “Island Voices’ to refine our collective vision and mission. We formalised our network, nominated Ngāti Kuri to lead and facilitate our mahi, and we set up a working group. From this, Te Moana Nui a Hiva was born.
We feel the overwhelming urgency of the situation before us. However, we see the potential in working together, embracing shared aspirations, prioritising the value of traditional knowledge and elevating indigenous leadership.
We are a family, bound by our love for and connection to our Moana. We have the power and the knowledge to bring about the urgent changes required to start the healing process for our ocean mother.
We couldn’t do this alone. Taiātea, Island Voices and Te Moana Nui A Hiva are supported by grants, friends and partners including UNESCO, Pew Charitable Trust, Tāmaki Paenga Hira (Auckland War Memorial Museum) and WWF-New Zealand. Together, we are working to ensure Te Moana Nui a Hiva unites Pacific indigenous voices for a healthy and resilient Moana.
Together, our many islands can unite with the great tide of aroha, to bring action for our Moana.