Not Another Acre: Ihumātao

The bus was pulling out of Te Kuiti when I heard about the fire at the Sky City Convention Centre. The rooftop burned for five days, fueled by insulation materials and the rubber based sealant that appears to have ignited first.

My phone was constantly emitting Civil Defence warnings about the toxins in the air while all round K Road and Queen Street people walked in safety masks.

The next day I took a bus to the airport and walked the 5 kms to Ihumātao. I was around for much of the next four days, helping with odd jobs and chatting on the atea. I did some night shifts at the ahi – a fire that had burned for nearly 100 days.

You can really talk around a fire. I think it’s because staring in lets you stop and listen. Manaaki people. Hospitality and care. The more I think about the problems of climate change the more threads lead me back to the way we saw the world before the Project of Empire.

Qiane Matata-Sipu told me of the price paid at her whenua in the name of progress: the maunga removed to build roads, the moana used as oxidation ponds, the awa turned into a landfill. Just as the waterways were beginning to heal thousands of litres of dye were dumped, killing everything off again.

Bizarrely, the millions of litres of water used to dowse the burning rubber in town was pronounced ‘clean’ just as I was leaving town. It would soon be making its way out to Ihumātao too.

I received a letter from the campaign via Action Station, asking for submissions to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. There’s only a few hours left so follow this link and send in your support:ātao-we-need-your-help-to-protect-the-whenua-6a806c2090f

My additions to the submission:

The enormous destructive force of capitalism is coming to the back of the woodpile. The driest pieces are being thrown in the flames now. To the North of this island you can literally see it glowing now as Spring ignites Australia. Whatever place you have in this moment, whatever lever is yours to throw, know that the extinction rate was multiplied one thousand times by our civilisation. The book of life is closing around us and there is much to be done. 

You can also find ways to support the campaign through the website at and the Facebook page,

Apologies for the sound quality on this one – I didn’t have all my gear and we were in a portacom.

This episode was recorded at Ihumātao. Next episode is from Parihaka. I recorded them in the other order but I’m letting the story lead us back there.

Stealth Vegan

Tēna koe, nau hoki mai ki taku kōnae kōrero – te taunga o te oranga ngākau.

The arguments around livestock and plant based foods are endless. While the vegan lifestyle was traditionally about the ethics of exploiting animals for food many are now coming to a
plant based diet for other reasons. The emissions and biodiveristy loss associated with large scale livestock farming appear to have a simple solution: just don’t use it.

You can put the facts and figures in front of people all day – the fact is a very small number are swayed by this stuff and, creatures of habit that we are, we just carry on doing what we
know and hope that things will work themselves out.

There is a third way: you take people into the future with such subtlety that they didn’t even know it was happening. While in Taranaki recently my mum took me to a cafe in Oakura,
and there I met Barbera Olsen-Henderson: stealth vegan.

This episode was recorded in Oakura, Taranaki. Next episode will be with Howie Harris, recorded in Parihaka, Taranaki. In the light of the rise in non violent direct action around the
world we’ll be talking about the seeds that were by Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kåkahi in the 1880s.