Māori and Aztec unite on environmental issues

By Heta Gardiner

One of the most well-known youth environmentalists in the world landed in New Zealand today. Xiuhtezcalt from the Aztec tribe will be in New Zealand spreading his message of looking after the planet to the masses of New Zealand. 

Two cultures coming together.

Xiuhtezcalt was welcomed to New Zealand with karanga. He is here to spread the message of conservation. He said he is drawn to the Māori culture which one reason why he has come down under.

Xiuhtezcalt says, “I have a very strong connection to my culture to my indigenous roots. Something that I've wanted to do my entire life is pursue the study of indigenous cultures and language. And learning the little bit that I know about the Māori culture has drawn me in to seeing the protection and their culture in this country.”

He also brought a part of his own culture with him.

Xiuhtezcalt is well known for his environmental efforts. He was prominent at Standing Rock and also featured in Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary 'Before the Flood'. He is also taking the US Government to court for "in-action" on climate change.

Kiri Danielle says, “He is a role model for me. I have much admiration for him.”

Danielle is a strong advocate for environmental issues. She says Māori should be taking the lead on this issue.

Danielle says, “We have Māori Television, we have Māori radio stations. We have full immersion Māori schools, Māori wānanga, our culture has a big presence here so it is only right that we, as a strong in indigenous culture take the lead on environmental issues.”

Xiuhtezcalt is throwing a free concert at Te Papa tomorrow.