Author: Elizabeth Claire Alberts
New Zealand parliamentarian and Māori activist Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has spent more than two decades serving in leadership roles, using her positions to advance social justice issues and to campaign for the protection of the marine environment.
A key issue that Ngarewa-Packer is currently working on is a push to ban deep-sea mining in the global ocean, a proposed activity that would extract large amounts of minerals from the seabed.
Ngarewa-Packer previously worked with other Māori activists, NGOs and community members to block consent for a deep-sea mining operation in her home district of South Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island.
In an interview with Mongabay, Ngarewa-Packer talks about why it’s critical to protect the deep sea from mining, what ancestral teachings say about protecting the ocean, and why she feels hopeful about the future.