community environmental entrepreneur Inequality maori

Change through questioning

Mawera Karetai wears so many hats it hard to know where to begin.  Mother, Business owner, blogger, RMA Commissioner, Benefits Review panelist, Conservation Board member, school board member, Capable NZ facilitator and Otago Polytechnic’s first doctoral student.  But underneath it all, and not very far from the surface (if not completely visible) is a passion for social justice.

Talking points

Social justice is intolerable to me

Be mindful of the things that you can do

It breaks my heart

Sustainable:  That it’ll still be around for my great grandchildren to enjoy. By being mindful.  That’s the Māori way.  That’s how whakapapa works.  We represent everything that came before us and everything that will come after us.  So where I stand right now, I’m not standing for myself, I’m standing for all of them.   We all have to have that mindset – every decision we make is not for us, it’s for everyone who came before us who got us here and everyone who will have to live with the consequences.  That’s mindful decision making.

Success:  My kids – extraordinary human beings.  Thoughtful, environmentally responsible, socially responsible and intolerant of injustice.  They’re fair, kind, loving human beings – and if they are representative of our future then I feel like I’ve done a bloody good job.

Superpower: Questioning things. Disruption by questioning things.

Activist: No, noI don’t really know what it is, but it has a lot of negative connotations.  I’m a lover.  I love people, I love life, I love my environment. I love the future and I love the past. I love everything, and there’s no negative connotations in that.

Motivation: That I can make change happen.    I lie in bed at night and think ‘what did I do today’ – reflect on my day, ‘was there anything I could have done to make it better? is there anything I wished I hadn’t done?’.  Every day is another opportunity to make change happen.   Some days it’s just changing your socks, other days it’s changing the world.  It just depends what opportunities present themselves that day.

Challenge:  Honouring people who have been victims of a system that has failed them over and over again.  And hopefully having found some way to prevent it happening any more.

Miracle: Impossible dream.  100 billion dollars and go forth and do incredibly good deeds. Buy rainforests, buy polluting  companies buy all the dairy farms in New Zealand and the water bottling plants, buy them all and close them down.   But I know that’s an impossible dream – there is no such thing as a magic wand, so instead I’ll just go and ask people a whole bunch of questions because I can do that for free.   Impossible dream one question at a time.

Advice: Question - When you get out of bed tomorrow morning what can do you do to make a difference in the world that you live in.