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Generation Zero stand with the Tūpuna Maunga Authority

Youth climate campaigners Generation Zero stand with the Tūpuna Maunga Authority

Generation Zero supports the Tūpuna Maunga Authority in its plan to restore native bush to Ōwairaka. The Authority has decided to remove 345 exotic trees on Ōwairaka in order to plant 13,000 native trees and plants. This decision forms part of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s wider cultural restoration plan for the maunga under its guardianship.

“As youth climate campaigners, Generation Zero supports this plan as part of our commitment to promoting biodiversity and connecting native ecological networks among maunga,” says Generation Zero member Ana Renker-Darby.

A group at Ōwairaka is currently protesting the Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s plans. Generation Zero believes that this group is misguided in their resistance. This protest undermines and disrespects the authority of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority to make decisions about the care of the maunga on behalf of mana whenua.

Generation Zero is committed to honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and recognising Tūpuna Maunga Authority as kaitiaki of the maunga. They tautoko the Tūpuna Maunga Authority as the best group to make decisions about the future of the maunga: spiritually, culturally, and environmentally.

“We firmly believe that climate justice must involve indigenous leadership, and in this case in Aotearoa, that involves upholding the tino rangatiratanga of tangata whenua,” says Renker-Darby.

While Generation Zero is a climate action organisation, they do not believe the climate arguments being used against mana whenua are justifiable. The protestors are misguided in using the climate emergency to justify saving mature exotic trees from being removed.

Tree removal may remove carbon storage, but the stores that are being removed are being replaced 37 fold in the form of native trees. In addition to regenerating the native ecology of the maunga, their youth means they will also sequester more carbon dioxide compared to mature trees. Without indigenous wisdom and leadership, there can be no climate justice.

Although increasing biomass is one way of addressing existing atmospheric carbon, Generation Zero’s goal is ultimately to reduce Aotearoa’s carbon emissions. “We seek to achieve this by advocating for climate-responsive legal frameworks, actionable plans and campaigning for urban development and infrastructure that is conducive to a zero carbon future.”

“We encourage all of our supporters to refrain from attending the protests and instead show your support for the awesome rangatahi fighting for climate justice such as Te Ara Whatu (https://www.facebook.com/tearawhatu/), Te Ohu Mana Rangatahi (https://www.facebook.com/TeOhuManaRangatahi/), Para Kore Ki Tāmaki (https://www.facebook.com/Para.Kore.Ki.Tamaki/) and Pipiri Ki a Papatūānuku (https://www.pipirikiapapatuanuku.org).”


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