Indigenous | Wahine

More than 1000 online for global indigenous women’s conference

An online conference call today features more than 1000 indigenous women across the world, weaving their voices and ideas together on social, political, and humanitarian issues in their respective communities.

The conference is called He Muka Tangata – He Muka Wahine and is a collaboration between The Wai 262 claim, Kanapu, and AATEA Solutions.

Event host and spokesperson Hema Wihongi (Ngāpuhi) says he is heartened to have the endorsement of Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko I te Ora and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum given these two organisations symbolise empowerment and resilience for Indigenous women globally.

“It is women who have risen as leaders in critical times. It is important that we create spaces to discuss these issues,” says Wihongi, a representative of the Wai 262 claim lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal on the protection of taonga and cultural intellectual property.

Speakers include Makau Ariki Atawhai, patron of Te Rōpū Wāhine Māori Toko I te Ora (Māori Women’s Welfare League), Tarcilla Rivera Zea, UN executive president of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (IIWF-FIMI) and Millilani Trask, Hawai’i-based expert to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Event organiser Tasha Hohaia (Ngāpuhi) says having more than1000 wāhine join on the zoom call is a miracle in itself. “Not all of them have connectivity,” she says.

“The energy and effort that these women are putting in to contribute today… Some of them have to catch a boat to contribute today.”

Hohaia adds that Indigenous women posses qualities to be some of the best leaders in the world.

“We are always thinking about the wider, bigger picture and enduring legacy. That includes whenua, our taiao, and enduring connections. Many of us have seen that when we face critical times, like now. We have risen to lead. And we need to be listening to those voices to shape our futures.”

The conference took place today from 12pm to 4pm.