This year, we’re proud to be profiling students and staff who we believe are contributing to the culture of sustainability at UC. We are running this campaign in the lead up to the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards, so get thinking about who you’ll be nominating this year! Nominations for the Awards are open from now until the 31 August (see our website for the nomination form and all the details).
In the meantime, read on and enjoy our next Sustainability Champion profile from the wonderful Abby – she’s a keen advocate for climate justice, one of our regular community garden volunteers, and is on the exec for two of our fave UCSA clubs: Digsoc and the Eco Clubs Network. You might also recognise her from the recent UC Me campaign, or perhaps one of her regular pieces in Canta.
Somehow, she’s doing all this while studying towards her BA in Philosophy and Te Re Māori – so make sure you check out the video below of Abby singing a beautiful waiata during last year’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori!
Tell us about yourself!
Kia ora koutou katoa! My name is Abby and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Te Reo Māori. I am passionate about eco-sustainability, languages, and music. A fun fact about me is that I am slightly obsessed with my dungaree collection – I own six pairs of dungarees and one pinafore, and am always on the hunt for more. I have also been teaching myself guitar for 3 years, and have aspirations of becoming a high school languages teacher in French and Te Reo Māori, as well as maybe English, Music and/or ESOL.
Tell us how you become involved with sustainability at UC.
I initially started studying a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Psychology (I’m now doing a BA in Philosophy, Te Reo Māori and French – but that’s another story) and I have always been passionate about the environment and advocating for climate justice. When I changed my study pathway I still wanted to keep myself involved in sustainable/eco/environmental pursuits and I started volunteering at the Waiutuutu Community Gardens on campus (previously Okeover Community Gardens). I started helping out there in June 2017 after I accidentally found myself at their end of term pizza party (homemade in a pizza oven onsite!) which was absolutely delicious/glorious, I might add.
What has been a sustainability project that has meant a lot to you?
An ongoing sustainability project has been the process of moving towards a more bilingual community garden at UC, which acknowledges te ao Māori and the relationship tāngata whenua have with their taiao (environment). This includes the new name/ingoa hou that was gifted by Kai Tahu kaumatua at the end of 2018: Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu, or in English, Waiutuutu Community Garden.
Waiutuutu is the historic/original Māori name for our Okeover Stream that runs through UC’s main campus. It translates to waters of reciprocity.
Abby leading a waiata as part of te Wiki o te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2018 in Waiutuutu Community Garden
Tell us about some other areas of your life at UC.
- QCanterbury, Social Media Manager
- DigSoc, Events ‘Wormlord’
- CANTA Contributor
- Thursdays in Black, General Exec
- Eco Clubs Network, General Exec
What is something that has made you feel really proud and a part of UC?
I helped to organise a pizza party last year at the gardens last year that had an amazing turn out. It was a little overwhelming to have fifty to eighty hungry university students, staff, and Ilam locals wander through our māra and feed them homemade oven fired pizza. We also had the smoothie bike up and running, and finished with pineapple sage tea and an outdoor movie screening of Occupy the Farm. I loved being able to share my favourite place on campus (and best kept secret) with new people.
Where to next for you?
I am finishing off my undergraduate degree, after which I intend to complete my Masters of Teaching (Secondary) to become a high school teacher in Te Reo Māori and French.
This message was bought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on Facebook, Instagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our Sustainability Champions Campaign, where we profile UC students and staff doing great things for sustainability. This is part of our wider communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.