Maha Fier

Maha Fier is a 17-year-old living along the west coast of New Zealand. While growing up near the ocean and coastal waterways, she developed an attachment to these natural wonders and was shocked when at 12 years old, she discovered the amount of threats our oceans are currently facing, including pollution, ocean acidification, exploitation of marine biodiversity through commercialized fishing and more.  

 A passion for wanting to preserve the environment and oceans led her to create the Societal, Environmental and Animal Rights Action Group (SEAR) within her local college. For four years, she has led this group which focuses on giving students the understanding that people, the environment and animals all intertwined. During her time leading SEAR, she has helped create events to preserve the remaining 63 Maui Dolphins and co-founded the Kāpiti Enviro Youth Summit, which focuses on New Zealand’s waterways and oceans and the threats they face.  She is heavily interested in how technology is being developed to help our planet. This has led her to be the project manager for her college’s robotics club, which is currently creating a beach-cleaning robot that can travel along a polluted beach and pick up the rubbish.

As a four-year textile student, she discovered that the fast fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and has detrimental impacts on our oceans. Synthetic fibers such as polyester, acrylic, nylon and more leak microfibers (a form of microplastics) when they are put through the washing machine. This has led to over 5 trillion microfibers ending up in our oceans and becoming the biggest source of microplastic. Maha wishes to see the fashion industry become more sustainable and has helped start a Stop Microfiber Pollution Campaign within SEAR, hoping that as it progresses further, huge fast fashion brands will start addressing the issue themselves.