Indigenous award for respected Mahia kuia

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The tireless efforts of respected Mahia kuia Pauline Tangiora in campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples around the world has seen her named as the 2018 recipient of the Wisdom Fellowship Award by the Sacred Fire Foundation in Berkeley, California, USA. 

"It means that indigenous peoples around the world are acknowledging each other and it's very humbling for me to be accepting this award because it's our people who have made it happen," says Tangiora.

She has campaigned for peace here and abroad, campaigned for water protection rights in Brazil and has stood with the indigenous people during the Chiapas revolution in Mexico.  

"The outcome of that was that we saw the Chiapas revolution won it's way in its day.  The sadness was so much damage that it did to indigenous peoples of Mexico and Chiapas. {It] was terrible".

She credits her peaceful philosophies to her upbringing, born in Ahuriri but calling Mahia home, with parents who were peaceful in nature.

"I couldn't see that war was going to destroy anything but destroy families.  Besides, those at the pinnacle of the war and those who were going in and invading somebody else's' country instead of looking to resolve their disputes".

She will travel to America to be presented the award in July- an award reserved for an elder who has demonstrated lifelong achievement for wisdom and leadership to their people.