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Kia ora. Hello. Nei ho.

I am Yaki, the founder of Wilderites. I was born in Hong Kong and have lived in Singapore, Toronto (Canada), London (UK) and Shanghai (China) before moving to Auckland, New Zealand in 2015. Having grown up in some of the densest cities in the world, my experience with nature prior to my kiwi life was embarrassing, constituting mostly of picnics in urban parks during short-lived summers in London, cursing the coldness while taking photos of red maple leaves in Canada, and a few half-finished hikes in Hong Kong. If I can reconnect with nature, I am 100% confident that you can too. After all, it is only natural that we do (pun intended).

For over 10 years I have been a human rights campaigner, climate change policy researcher and non-profit organisational consultant. After my move to New Zealand, a few “aha” moments ushered me onto this very different path:

  • I forgot how it felt to feel fully. Our society values rational thinking and quantitative analysis over emotional feeling and creative expression. After years of intentionally or unintentionally suppressing/dismissing/ignoring my sensual, emotional self, I started reconnecting with it and engaged in art and creativity as a means to communicate climate change.

  • My mother got cancer and after two years of treatment, she passed away in September 2018. Her illness made me ponder a lot about life and death. Thich Nhat Hanh’s words became my bedtime reading and I started practicing mindfulness meditation. Like that of the earliest single celled organisms on earth, the significance or purpose of our existence may not be known within our lifetime or even in a billion years. Only by doing what I truly love now can I live in the present.

  • I have become a bit obsessed with systems thinking and the concept of interbeing kept popping up on my radar. I studied Theory U, took classes of Fritjof Capra and Charles Eisenstein and read extensively on similar topics. Solving our world’s challenges require changes in policies and new technologies, but more importantly we need a collective awakening of our consciousness possible only through reconnecting with the self, others and nature. As Einstein rightly said, “we cannot solve our problems with the same mentality we had when we created them”.

All of these culminated to the beginning of Wilderites. It is a calling that aligns with my values and passion. It allows me and you all whom I serve to feel and connect through our senses. And because changes are chaotic and non-linear, I believe that this is a small but critical step in triggering a collective awakening.

When I am not doing Wilderites stuff, I am working on decarbonising the built environment, organising clothes swaps and upcycling parties, collecting stories from inspiring women, conducting research on sustainable food systems, practicing tai chi, yoga, reading, having coffees with friends, watching Netflix or cooking at home with my husband David.