February 11, 2019
Wahine toa an inspiration
The stand of a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist is resonating with the Māori climate commisisoner.
Last August Greta Thunberg started striking from her school each Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament against the lack of action on global warming.
School children around the world have picked up the call.
Donna Awatere Huata says being the lone voice in a crowd takes extraordinary courage, and it reminds her of the stand taken in 1971 by the late Hana Te Hemara to get Māori language taught in schools.
"Yes she had some of us behind her but without her leadership, without her courage to say 'no, we are going to do this.' We went to the New Zealand Māori Council, Sir Graham (Latimer) was chair at the time, and they kept us waiting out in the rain. Some of us wanted to get back on the bus and go but she was so determined and she went in and she confronted them and I had the benefit of seeing what a single wahine toa can achieve," she says.
Ms Awatere Huata says she has yet to see any of today’s young Māori showing similar courage.
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