Rangatahi voices are set to be heard alongside the world’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders during this year’s APEC voices of the future summit.
The summit, which is being hosted by Aotearoa, launched this week online due to Covid-19.
It gathers youth from across the Asia-Pacific region to share their whakaaro on the big issues being faced in the world.
These include the impact of Covid-19, sustainability and climate change, digital futures, and international co-operation between nations.
Te Rangitūkupu is the APEC Māori partnership group which has selected eight rangatahi to attend.
Rangatahi representative Te Aonui Wharawhara Muriwai (Ngāti Hauā, Ngāpuhi, Taranaki, Ngāti Hinerangi, Ngāti Raukawa) said he is passionate about helping Māori.
He is currently studying at the University of Waikato where he mentors other tauira Māori.
Muriwai hopes the summit will offer a chance to represent and inspire young Māori to realise their potential.
“It’s just my passion to help Māori people and to inspire Māori tauira, to realise their true potential is what led me to this forum or to this opportunity.
“For us as rangatahi Māori, it gives us a chance to represent other minority groups and give them a voice because at the big events our indigenous perspective isn’t really taken into account.”
Muriwai is looking to offer kōrero around digital futures and how digital exclusion can impact minority groups.
Sharing new and diverse perspectives related to kaupapa such as digital futures is something he believes is important as it is the younger generations who will face the outcomes of these issues in the near future.
“The voices of the future event gives the youth an opportunity to give our opinions and perspectives.
“The reason why I think it’s important to have a youth perspective is because in the Asia and Pacific demographic, youth actually make up one third of the population and a lot of these topics, all of the choices we made now are going to affect us in the future
“It gives us a chance to make sure that our voices are heard and that our unique perspectives are acknowledged to help shape a better future for New Zealand” he said.
Te Aniwaniwa Devine Paterson (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa) who is also a part of the rōpū said she is passionate about creating conversations related to the issues facing communities.
She said working with others, especially other rangatahi Māori is something she has appreciated throughout the summit as they have all supported and uplifted one another.
“I always prefer working within a collective and especially with rangatahi Māori because all of us come from different backgrounds.
“It’s really awesome to see the diversity amongst Māori and the multitudes of voices rather than a homogenized view of Māoritanga.
“It’s a real privilege to work, learn, teach and collaborate.”
Devine has worked within the arts, activism, media and fundraising for indigenous kaupapa, with an ambition to help support and advocate for indigenous groups.
She was looking forward to contributing towards future focused initiatives during the summit aiming to promote inclusivity and diversity.
“We can help contribute to APEC because we already embody this idea of a global, united forum as Māori often work as a collective and embody the tikanga of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and we wānanga.
“It’s something that we live and do and breath every day, working together as one” she said.
Chairing the Te Rangitūkupu group are Traci Houpapa and Pita Tipene.
Houpapa said this year’s APEC event was designed and carried out alongside Māori as part of Aotearoa’s commitment to te tiriti o Waitangi.
She said Te Rangitūkupu as a working group would help to ensure a Māori voice and vision was embedded in the discussions.
“For Te Rangitūkupu, we were really keen to ensure that our Māori rangatahi were part of the conversation that advises APEC.
“We’re focused on international cooperation to combat Covid-19, environmental management, digital futures and ensuring that we can grow all of our economies and create opportunities for all of our people, including indigenous and first nations people.”
Tipene said they were excited to see the rangatahi gain knowledge from the conference.
He thought it was great to see a generation of capable young people connecting with APEC leaders.
“We are excited for them and the insights they will gain into the complexities of a global system. This experience will broaden their perspective and knowledge.
“It’s great to see a generation of confident, capable and engaged young people connecting with APEC leaders and using their experience to help navigate the next two decades. These rangatahi show huge potential as the next wave of Māori leaders.”