Katja Neef | Seelye Kupe Leadership Scholar

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Geography

Having been born and raised in Thailand and growing up in Japan and Aotearoa, and participating in field research and workshops in Fiji, Vanuatu, Thailand, Cambodia, Tanzania, Peru, Indonesia, and West Papua, I have had the privilege to learn from various Indigenous groups and witness the impacts of participatory development. My research and advocacy interests include issues concerning land governance and dispossession, refugee rights, Indigenous rights, forced migration, and climate justice. I want to work towards an inclusive society by promoting and advocating for climate justice by amplifying Indigenous Pacific voices and acknowledging Indigenous knowledge systems. I am passionate about the need for creating lasting and transformational change by campaigning for laws and policies that are informed by Indigenous values, as climate activism cannot be isolated from social and political issues and must be grounded within wider political and social philosophy centered around social justice.

Sponsor: Ralph and Eve Seelye Trust 

Mentor: Michelle Sharp, Unicef CEO. Director of Kilmarnock and Akina Foundation, Edmund Hillary Fellow and Independent Chair Managing Partners, Canterbury & West Coast of BNZ.