He Tangata
Maui Brennan

Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Tūāhuriri

Maui Brennan (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāi Tūāhuriri) grew up in Ōtautahi in a bicultural household. Being of Italian and Māori whānau, Maui appreciates not only the similarities between his two cultures, but also the strong sense of identity that has blossomed from his upbringing. He has a passion for travelling and seeing the world beyond Aotearoa, and exploring the lessons to be learned from other cultures. At the end of 2019, Maui completed his Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance and Economics, at the University of Canterbury. He is now preparing to study towards a Master of Science in Economic and Social Sciences at Bocconi University, Milan. Meanwhile, he is an intern at Tokona Te Raki, as a project facilitator.


What constitutes a good day?
For me, a good day definitely has to include sun and heat. There is nothing better than exercising or working outside. I would probably also add to that ice-cream, a BBQ, and then a binge watch on Netflix during the evening!

One thing you could not live without?
Wi-Fi! I feel like more than half of my day is spent on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok), Zoom meetings, and even watching my favourite shows on Netflix, or videos on YouTube. It is quite hard to imagine spending my day without going online at least once.

Who or what inspires you and why?
People who overcome their limits, and dare to dream big. I see that in my whānau, in rangatahi today and in our iwi leaders. Doubt can be a huge obstacle when trying to create transformational change, and seeing visions being made possible despite the challenges only encourages me to go beyond my limits.

Highlight in the last year and why?
Participating in the Te Hononga-ā-Kiwa trip to Japan. Not only did I enjoy having the opportunity to meet other like-minded Māori students, but I also appreciated learning about Japan’s indigenous Ainu culture. There were striking similarities in the historical struggle that Ngāi Tahu and the Ainu faced. It really made me appreciate how far our iwi has progressed since the Treaty.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My hair. Ever since the lockdown, and without having a haircut for months, it amazes me how crazy it gets. Most people don’t see how crazy it is thanks to the massive amount of hair product I use to control it.

Favourite way to chill out? Favourite place?
Playing video games. I really enjoy playing open world role playing games such as Zelda Breath of the Wild. Just escaping from the real world for a bit is a great way to clear my mind and take time out from my usual responsibilities.
My favourite place is definitely New Brighton Beach. It is my go-to place for a long run, but I have also made many memories there. New Brighton Beach is so underrated!

Dance or wallflower?
Probably a mix of both. It really depends on who is there and the occasion – I can go from one extreme to another.

What food could you not live without?
Pizza. It is my perfect meal for a night out!

What meal do you cook the most?
On occasions I usually cook pizza or focaccia bread. I can’t get enough of bread – it is too good to pass up. (If I want to cook normally, usually grilled meat with vegetables.)

Greatest achievement?
Getting my ATCL piano performance diploma. It was a lot of hard work and effort to fine-tune my playing technique, and also to balance my academic and social life. So once I got it, I was ecstatic and relieved!

Do you have an aspiration for Ngāi Tahu to achieve by 2025?
A greater presence in Te Waipounamu, especially in Christchurch. There is so much opportunity to solidify our presence in everyday city life. I’d want future rangatahi in 2025 to know that their iwi is there supporting them in their life’s journey.