Isabel Castro

“I painted my house orange because I wanted to stand out.”

At a young age, Isabel knew that she wanted to be a scientist, particularly with animals. She studied microbiology in her undergraduate, and then swamp birds for her masters. She learned that islands were her calling when working in the Galapagos Islands. Since then, she has never left islands. Leaving her home country, Columbia, to live in New Zealand was a hard decision, but she is not the type to say ‘no.’ Her Ph.D. study focused on the Hehe bird, and after that she studied the Saddleback. Out of curiosity, she found the Kiwi as her next focus. “It is strange that we call ourselves ‘Kiwi,’ because many New Zealanders have never held or even seen one.” They are incredibly humbling creatures.


Dawn is a performer at the Treaty of Waitangi Museum where she dances and sings for hundreds of tourists every day.

Interviewer: How did you get into performing?

Dawn: “I’ve been brought up in this as a child. Right from these poi, the balls on the end of a string, they were my toys as a child. So my parents actually gave me the hand and eye coordination skills as I grew up instead of a Barbie doll or a tinker toy. And we’ve all been brought up in this with our families, training methods. Also just being who we are and carrying on our culture. In the fun way we can! Who needs a gym, come to work!”

Maui Te Peo

“In Māoridom, laziness is basically the number one sin. Laziness. Because if you’re lazy, how can you look after the earth and yourself? So laziness is definitely, its not a good thing. But what I’m saying now, is not only are we lazy physically, because now we can just go to the supermarket, which is not nutritionally the best way anyway, but when you cut the food you must give thanks because it’s giving it’s spirit to feed you, but you’re also giving thanks for it giving itself up to feed you. When you fish or hunt, it’s the same thing, you give thanks because its giving up itself to feed you. I was taught that when you’re hunting, if you catch a wild pig, you cut off its ear or tail and hang it on the tree where you found it. Giving back.”

Maui Te Peo is a member of Iwi Tu Hoe. He works for the New Zealand Department of conservation and lives in Waimana te ururewa with his granddaughter.


“Where’s the top of the tree? Where i’m from, down on the bottom. So when you’re tired, you’re restless, you know the worlds just pushing you down and you need a break you go pick a nice good tree, Kauri Tree, or i think those, i love to see those, those redwoods, from california, love to see those ones. you go there, and you put your mattress…and put your head to the tree, to the base, and in our stories, the head of Tane is there, and those are his toes up there, cause in the creation story, thats how he separated heaven and earth. he was on his shoulders and he pushed ‘em up. and so by just resting by his head, them gone.” – Maui Te Pou


“We opened Wazza’s in March 2017 and that’s when I started working here. The store is made out of a shipping container so that’s really cool and unique. We sell coffee and ice cream and out slogan is ‘life is what happens between coffee and ice cream’. It means that you have coffee in the morning and ice cream for desert and life happens in the middle.”


20 years old

Wellsford, NZ

Worker at Wazza’s

Christian Edwin

Age: 19

Origin: Malaysia

Hobbies: Sports and Video Games

Studies: Medicine to become a doctor

Story: He has been in New Zealand since he was four and currently has a dual citizenship between Malaysia and New Zealand. He is currently studying at St Margaret’s College because in Malaysia they award only 10% of the scholarships to Malaysian Indians, so his family (who currently resides in Auckland) decided that he should come here. Christian wants to become a doctor so that he can help people. He loves the community of New Zealand, explaining them to be very friendly and do a good job of looking after the land.

Quote: “Everyone’s at peace, there’s no competitive struggles”.

Maureen Legge

Maureen Legge is a professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She teaches Physical Education and has spent many years becoming an expertise in the world outdoors. She just so happened to be one of our educational facilitators for our week long stay on the marae, and really helped us get acquainted to the wild country New Zealand has to offer and blending within Maori culture and their views on their native ecosystems. Maureen became very close to our group, and we couldn’t be more inspired by her passion for educating us and willingness to guide us along on undulating hikes.

“The essence of outdoor education is about being bicultural with the environment you are in. When my students can bring together their background perspective and the perspective of the culture they are interacting with, that’s when the best growth occurs and harmony ensues.”

Pembrooke Lodge

“I have found fulfillment in serving humanity here at the Pembrooke lodge. We meet all kinds of people that bring so much perspective here. My husband and I owned a different inn many years back, but we needed to close it due to a lack of business. We spent some time struggling with where to go and how to make ends meet, until we realized that we needed to keep on serving. Soon after this realization we opened this one. We found it in awful condition, but got a team together to renovate the place and have it open to guests within a week. When you have a direction and strong guiding principles, anything is possible, and we feel blessed to serve you!”

Taonga Teaianui

“My favorite memory is traveling with my Koro (grandfather in Māori). I love exploring and going on adventures. I have really enjoyed this trip with him. In fact I would say it’s been the best we have been on.” -Taonga Teaianui

Napui Maori

Napui Maori male performer who currently lives in Australia came to New Zealand for holiday and decided to work at the Treaty of Waitangi powhiri recreation performance; it was his third day.

Interviewer: “What’s your favorite thing about your job?”

Performer: “Enjoying my culture, showing my culture to the world—to everyone really. Mainly just that: keep our culture alive, performing it, and doing it.”

Richard Otene

“Abo me he wahre pungawerewere, as if it were a spiders web. The spiders web represents hardworking people. As a carver, I create new designs each day, just as a spider makes new webs each time it’s web is destroyed. It takes great focus and patience to be a carver.”

  • Richard Otene, a traditional Maori carver from the nga puhi and ngati porou tribes