Māori couple speaks out on World Vegan Day

By Jessica Tyson

It's World Vegan Day and a young Auckland Māori couple have taken it to the streets to speak out about animal rights.

Chris Huriwai and Sam La Hood are not only world champion unicyclists, but they're also part of the Cube of Truth activist group featured in a recent Loading Docs film.

The group includes masked volunteers who stand in an outwards-facing square, showing the public a graphic montage of modern animal industry practices on their laptops.

Huriwai says the Cube of Truth is an effective way to make change because people’s reaction are generally positive.

”They’re able to walk on by and some people are so engaged with our message that they’ll stop and have a conversation and some have actually joined us,” he says.

But the couple has also had to deal with anger from the public and people disagreeing with their beliefs.

“I have had some falling outs with friends and some members of my family because of my views on animal rights and veganism," says Huriwai.

“But everyone has their own opinions and if you believe in something that’s worth fighting for then you should fight for it no matter what everyone says.”

The Cube of Truth. Source: Loading Docs

Huriwai grew up in Northland and says his friends were the animals he looked after.

“When I witnessed animals being killed on my farm it was a big wake up call for me.”

La Hood says she went vegan after seeing videos of animals being harmed.

“I didn’t understand how the issues could be so bad and that’s the day that I went vegan.”

Huriwai says veganism and Māori go hand in hand, “because they’re both about respecting life and about sustainability.

“I believe that humans are inherently kind and compassionate beings.  We all love animals but we are taught to love some and eat others.”