Ant Vavia: Around the World in 5 Days

Tena koutou!
So to continue on about this adventure, New York happened along with a whole lot of other things:

- Took a tour downtown – DOWNTOOOWN, YOU DON’T WANT NO BEEF BO- Sorry! Macklemore’s Downtown song pops in my head when I see or hear the word “downtown”.

- We saw a range of NYC’s tall sky rocketing buildings, given a little history lesson, roamed through Little Italy and China Town.

- Went whale watching – didn’t see any whales.

- Had my own personal tour through the Bronx, thanks to some awesome locals that I met and we ate the world’s largest pizza slice!

Ahhh, living life a little.

But I came here for a purpose! I came here for…
The UN Ocean Conference!

We’re all here to meet people, share ideas and discuss how we can come together to achieve SDG14. But this is how it started, there were few discussions, but rather a pre-written talk about this, that and the other.  I was expecting to hear all the ideas and sol-oceans (solution + ocean) to our issues! I wanted to see the critical thinking. Where art thou, sweet inspiration, that thine heart seeks?
We can talk about our global concerns as much as we want, but it’s a matter of taking action on the things we need. I was looking forward to the sessions that would make me yell “PREACH IT SISTER MHMM!” with an American accent in my head. But the odd head nod and a silent “chur” sufficed – unfortunately, there were only few of those moments. We need to strategically direct our eyeballs at possible sol-oceans and do it!

But to be fair, despite this unsettling experience, as the conference proceeded, I began to learn that maybe it’s not that simple to be as proactive as we like and just doing what we need. The use of the ocean and the sharing of its wealth is a tough fish to battle. And when it comes to sharing the ocean, who makes those decisions? Who has the power to decide? Who has the resources needed to sustain our ocean? Or who is even willing to participate in this losing battle against ourselves? – Funny note, I came across this funny ad the other day when entering the subway:

It says: “How do you survive the world’s greatest predators?”
Hilarious right?! Sharks! The most dangerous animal on earth, oooohhh! Bhahahahaha! Poor sharks, how do THEY survive the world’s greatest predators.


So when comes to making these possible world changing decisions, I’ve learnt that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. It requires time, resources, and commitment. And not everyone can provide that as freely as we’d like. The UN Ocean Conference has certainly shown me how the real world plays these games and has opened my eyes that there are so many people playing. I just wish we could skip the talk and start now.

On another note, I cut two of my fingers open and needed 6 stitches!


I'm fine though. At the moment I’m sitting in the airport typing this blog post awkwardly before the long flight home.

Thank you New York for having me, thank you UN for the heads up on how much our world is messed up, and thank you to my AYLI delegation for making the whole experience a savage one.

In this concrete jungle, we’ll be no more,

Catch you guys at home, in Our-tearoa


All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences, and do not reflect those of the Institute

Posted on June 11, 2017 .