"We left our devices in the car because it was about the tangata whenua" - Game Changers visit Ihumātao

By Taroi Black

Māori social media stars, Game Changers have visited Ihumātao with the aim of lifting the hearts of those who are protecting the land from the proposed special housing project.

The visitors include Patrick Salmon (Kairua), Nicola ‘Nix’ Adams (Cooked Whānau with Nix), Ann Tauroa (Annie's Way of Life), Cohen Irwin (Coey East) and Alicia Walsh- once homeless now turned entrepreneur.   

Salmon says, “We went to give positive vibes to those who wanted a lift.”

“We are social media influencers, however going to Ihumātao we left our devices in the car because it was about the tangata whenua occupying their whenua.”

Game Changers visited Ihumātao this week (Source: file).

As a group they refer to themselves as the ‘Game Changers’, a name which was inspired by their 500,000 plus followers. 

The group have just come off a week-long tour to the Bay of Plenty, paying a special visit with Whakatāne current and future leaders, including Pouroto Ngāropo, who is a candidate in the Whakatāne mayoral race.

Ahead of the group’s attendance to the NZ Fashion Week, they decided to embrace the tangata whenua of Ihumātao and listen to their concerns over the proposed housing development of 480 homes in the historic area.

“We spoke to those working there and occupying the whenua.  Each person had an experience and connection with the land,” says Salmon.

“We were thanked by everyone we spoke to for going and offering a hand up there."