Māori activist Chris Huriwai takes on New Zealand's dairy industry in new documentary 'Milked'

A young Māori activist is taking on our biggest industry in a new documentary looking into the long-lasting impacts of dairy farming.

Te Tai Tokerau activist Chris Huriwai isn't afraid to go against the tide to create change.

Huriwai stars in and is co-producer of the new documentary Milked, which will premiere at this year's Whānau Mārama New Zealand Film Festival.

Directed by Amy Taylor, it takes an uncompromising examination of the impacts of our dairy industry.

"We need to move away from this mindset that if there's a profit and some think that it's right to do it," Huriwai says.

"We go into this in-depth in the documentary and in reality, the true costs of dairy farming in Aotearoa are not being paid."

From a young age, he learned how to use his voice as he began his path to becoming vegan and an animal rights activist.

"I've always been very outspoken in my life in general. I've never really been a fan of higher up authority figures," says Huriwai.

Milked draws on several experts, including renowned conservationist Jane Goodall, and reveals the damage dairy farming is causing to our environment, animals and health.

"A lot of knowledge-keepers have come together for this kaupapa and in a way have entrusted me to present this information."

Huriwai hopes Milked encourages people to question the legacy of our dairy farming industry.

"Because we're told that this is the backbone of the economy, that dairy farming is our identity - that this is the land of milk and honey."

Now Huriwai is living back in Northland, he's determined to stop Māori communities from having their waterways polluted from dairy farming.

"When you have a marae, when you have a small community that doesn't have a local waterway, you lose that free recreational activity for tamariki," he says.

"Without that source, for your community, for your hapū, for your marae, for your tamariki, for me everything else falls apart."

Even though he says progress is still too slow, he believes Aotearoa can make the transition away from dairy farming.

"Nothing will ever be fast enough in terms of climate solutions. In terms of water degradation solutions, protecting our freshwater should be paramount.

"For us as that world-leading country who is known for our innovation - I do have faith, I do have faith and it has to happen. It has to be done."

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.

Māori activist Chris Huriwai takes on New Zealand's dairy industry in new documentary 'Milked'