He Tangata
Lucie O’Sullivan

Ngāi Tahu – Waihōpai, Awarua

Lucie O’Sullivan (Ngāi Tahu – Waihōpai, Awarua) grew up in Perth, but having family both past and present call Aotearoa home has helped her form her own sense of place and identity. She has held fast to her heritage, and has shared her family’s joy in exploring Aotearoa on visits throughout her life. At the end of last year, Lucie completed her International Baccalaureate Diploma and graduated as Dux of School from Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Perth. She is now studying towards a Bachelor of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia, and intends to complete her honours and postgraduate Juris Doctor.

What constitutes a good day?
Doing something good for me and something good for someone else.

One thing you could not live without?
The knowledge that someone, somewhere, loves me.

Who or what inspires you and why?
I have always been inspired by the whakataukī: E tūtaki ana ngā kapua o te rangi, kei runga te Mangōroa e kōpae pū ana – The clouds in the sky gather, but above them extends the Milky Way. In exemplifying mīharo, this whakataukī highlights the value and liberating qualities of wonder. It reminds me of the importance of asking questions, seeking to understand before judging, and not accepting superficial explanations.
I believe wonder can foster open-mindedness, and thereby, tolerance and understanding – qualities I think our world would benefit from nurturing more proactively.

Highlight in the last year and why?
I worked exceptionally hard over the past year to prepare for my final school exams. The payoff was getting accepted into every university course I applied for across Australia. It certainly demonstrated that hard work and perseverance pay off in the end.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Travelling overseas and leaving a carbon footprint that contributes to the imminent climate crisis.

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
Going for a walk and swim at the beach with my dog.

Dance or wallflower?
Dance. That’s why God gave us legs.

What food could you not live without?
My mother’s pavlova.

What meal do you cook the most?
Apple crumble, with a welcomed addition of feijoas from the garden when they are ripe.

Greatest achievement?
Learning to play the violin. Through years of dedication, mastering the violin has brought invaluable richness into my life in the form of friendships, memories, and opportunities.

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
I would love to see Ngāi Tahu and other First Nation groups at the forefront of international action against climate change. First Nation communities possess a distinctive understanding of the land, knowledge that has been tried and tested for millennia. I hope that national and international bodies seek out our wisdom concerning environmental sustainability, and enable First Nation communities to lead the reformation of the global population’s relationship with the natural world.