I've been vaguely aware of the ongoing occupation at Ihumātao for a couple of years now, but when things escalated in recent weeks, it did so from the palm of my hand.
Scrolling through Instagram, I started seeing pleas for help and calls for donations and bodies at the front lines, protecting the land from a planned Fletcher Building subdivision.
First they needed food and water, then blankets and shelter, and as they got settled, calls for more specific items came through; paper plates, cutlery, socks, beanies.
It was already cold, but it was getting colder and while hundreds of kaitiaki sat braced at the frontlines, I sat on my couch, warm in my privilege thinking; "I'll go when the weather isn't so bad".
In the end, it was neither the news nor the weather that eventually prompted me to go to Ihumātao, it was the Kiwi stars posting about the occupation on social media.
It was them who kept me up to date and informed and them who showed me that my presence meant something even if I thought I had nothing to offer.
I've long avoided protests, particularly once they hit the level at which totally unaffected and disingenuous people start turning up just to capitalise on the hashtag for likes - despite the fact that I know that for every wannabe influencer, there are 50 other people with their hearts in it who need support.
I know this because people like Stan Walker, Ladi6 and JessB have been telling me so, over and over on social media.
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Ihumātao has been a tough one for me because this whole time I've known I could go, I should go, and I wanted to go. But I never went.
The excuses why were plentiful, the actual reason is linked to a deep-rooted anxiety around belonging in brown spaces, which is a whole other chat I'll save for my therapist.
The point though is that New Zealand's stars are helping me through it.
Over recent years I've sat here musing about the place of celebrities in global conversations. We've watched the biggest stars in Hollywood wade into the #MeToo fray, watched late-night hosts and comedians skewer Trump and his politics, watched pop stars rally together against terrorist attacks, and more recently - and far more often than we'd like - watched as dozens of stars condemn the American Government's stance on gun control.
That kind of star-powered activism has never been in short supply among our Kiwi exports; Lucy Lawless (aka Xena: Warrior Princess) is one of our biggest international stars and also one of our most outspoken activists for equality and the environment.
But Ihumātao has marked the first time in my life that I've seen celebrity play a part in our socio-politics like this.
Maybe I've been ignorant and missed it, or maybe I'm just not used to seeing star power used for a Maori cause, either way, something about Ihumātao feels deeply significant.
It feels for the first time that we've allowed our stars to rise above tall poppy syndrome to a place where they are aware of and comfortable using their influence. It also feels like we've reached a point where, if you find the right pockets of pop culture, that influence can go a long way not just in spreading information and awareness, but in creating welcoming spaces for the otherwise disenfranchised - people like me.
Popstar Stan Walker performed at Ihumātao and declared the protest the "revolution of our generation" and Kiwi R&B legend Ladi6 continued to post not just from the frontlines, but messages of support and logistical updates. But the real turning point for me was when I saw Kiwi-African rapper JessB perform at Ihumātao while wearing a Kenyan flag on her back.
She was simultaneously representing her Kenyan heritage and her current home nation at once, belonging without needing to belong.
And that was all that I needed.
When I finally got to Ihumātao it was cold, dark and raining but the welcome was warm and the fires were hot and people from all walks of life were there in support of not just the cause, but the people.
I'm not in any way suggesting Kiwi stars are the heroes of the Ihumātao story; that is the legacy of the kaitiaki who continue to weather the occupation.
But I will say that because of them I felt welcome and included and empowered, and the kaupapa of the occupation is getting spread further than it otherwise might because not only are they using their platforms for a homegrown cause, they're continuing their support even after they've racked up the Instagram likes.