Stories in New Zealand

A Meeting of Nations

Wxémalkwu me ngā Iwi Māori—Cultural Exchange

Several people gather together outside and pose for a photo.
Wxémalkwu Members of the Wxémalkwu First Nation in British Columbia arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand to meet with iwi and hapū/Māori tribal units from around the country. © James Rua Hood and Co.

In March 2024, 18 people from the Wxémalkwu First Nation in British Columbia landed in Aotearoa New Zealand to embark on a trip like no other. Over the next 12 days, they would meet iwi and hapū /Māori tribal units from around the country, to share experiences and knowledge first-hand, all in aid of raising a future generation of leaders.

Learning and cultural exchanges between Indigenous Peoples around the world are key to global conservation. Meeting face to face is a powerful way to foster knowledge, ideas and values transfers and to create lasting relationships that create support networks for shared problem solving. The Nature Conservancy and our Canadian affiliate Nature United are proud to support these exchanges to foster diffusion of community-led conservation and practices.

Supporting the next generation of leaders is a shared Indigenous value, and this trip was specially designed to foster sharing of knowledge across generations and Indigenous cultures.

“Be an open door for your young people—they are full of ideas and will jump at the opportunity to share them,” said Tiare Iti, Waikato-Tainui speaking to the group at Rangiriri Paa.

Creating the next generation of stewardship leaders helps youth leaders find stewardship jobs and helps create local sustainable economies that are grounded in Indigenous values. This helps communities build sustainable natural resource management and sustainable livelihoods, while supporting their people, cultures and well-being.

Follow them as they travel around the country.