Māori Vegan Profiles

Introducing you to inspiring Māori vegans.

Katie Brown
Pere Huriwai

(Ngati Whatua, Ngāti Raukawa)

Tino kai: Vegan boil up with doughboys! 

When did you go vegan, and why? 

In 2019, initially for health. After losing my father to bowel cancer, I wanted to nourish my body after an incredibly difficult time. I had also been raised to be a fierce protector of the environment – so, for Papatūānuku, too. 

What benefits have you experienced since going vegan? 

Definitely a feeling of tau when I eat, because no animals have had to die to give me my kai! More energy than ever, and I can just run for ages! And kai is fun and enjoyable for me again. I love creating meals and cooking for other people.  

What advice do you have for new vegans? 

Every meal you could possibly want can be made vegan! Don’t be hard on yourself, some people take a while to get there. (I took 4 years!) Ask your vegan friends for a hand – we love providing tautoko to those wanting to try vegan.

Tino kai: Crispy tofu. I never liked tofu as a kid – but now I can’t get enough of it!

When did you go vegan, and why? 

I went vegan in my mid-20s, after being vegetarian for a couple of years. Initially, it was for the animals, but I soon realised that veganism is great for te taiao, and for our hauora as well.

What’s your favourite thing about being vegan?

When I went vegan, I met a lot of great people who care about protecting Papatūānuku, and all of our whanaunga – human and non-human.

What advice do you have for new vegans? 

Don’t do it alone. Ask a friend if they’ll give it a try, too, hei hoa haere. Remember, sustainable change takes time: take your first step, then take the next one.

(Ngāpuhi nui tonu, Ngati Porou, Te Ātiawa)

Tino kai: Huarākau! Watermelon, passionfruit, but also anything spicy – Kaitaia Fire!

When did you go vegan, and why? 

I was raised next to the ngahere where I spent a lot of time with kararehe and my awa. I went vegetarian at 13, then ten years later when I felt I was in a good place, I took the next step to live more aligned with my values and appreciation of the natural world.

What are your hopes for Aotearoa?

A vegan world with tikanga Māori as a foundation. Our struggle for tino rangatiratanga, environmental justice, animal justice and equitable systems are inextricably linked, and once achieved they will support each other moving into the future.

What advice do you have for new vegans? 

Being different can be testing. Hold onto your ‘why’. Kia ū! You may fall over, but don’t give up. Never stop listening to your heart. Kaua e hē, kia mau ki te ara tika