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National Radio To Broadcast Landmark Series

National Radio To Broadcast Landmark Series

“Ngä Manu Täiko – Mäori Leaders and Leadership”

Starting Sunday 23 February National Radio is broadcasting a landmark series Ngä Manu Täiko – Mäori Leaders and Leadership when Paul Diamond speaks to six of today’s leading figures in Maoridom. The series will be broadcast at 2pm on Sundays over the next eight weeks. (see below)

According to Mäori, the manu täiko is the guiding bird in a flock of birds, and a sentry bird. The term is also a metaphor for leadership.

“ These are Mäori leaders who’ve made an impact on the national stage and beyond their own tribal areas. I wanted to survey the careers and backgrounds of the six leaders, not for the purposes of biography per se, but to find out why their lives had taken the course they had,” says Diamond

“The results – which will also be published as a book by Huia Publishers later this year – were revealing. One recurring theme was the importance of education and deliberate interventions, suggesting that leaders do not emerge by accident. For Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Hirini Moko Mead, and Sir Robert Mahuta, being noticed by pakeha Native School headmasters played a big part in their getting to boarding schools.

“Being asked as a sixth former if he was interested in becoming an accountant saw Whatarangi Winiata embark on a career in that field and becoming a key driver behind the establishment of Te Wananga o Raukawa, the Mäori tertiary institution. Pita Sharples opted to go to Te Aute Mäori Boys College instead of a scout jamboree and Sir Tipene O’Regan was exposed to the world of ideas by a scholarly Catholic Priest at St Patrick’s College in Wellington.

“Also striking,” says Diamond, “was how certain key people – Kara Puketapu, John Rangihau, Bruce Biggs, Hoani Waititi and others – kept reappearing in the leaders’ life stories, as catalysts who created opportunities which sent their lives in particular directions.”

The series begins with Sir Tipene O’Regan, who was a member and chairman of the Ngai Tahu Mäori Trust Board from 1974 until 1996, and led the Ngai Tahu claims, negotiation and settlement process from 1985 to 1998. Looking back over his career, Sir Tipene says he didn’t forsee it would take the course it did.

“After a time, I realised I was trapped in huge challenge and the only thing to do was to get your head down and go and do it, but you wouldn’t have devised your life around it…there’s been certain core things that have always been there. I’ve had this fundamental view that you’re not a people just because you say you’re a people. You’re not a tribal nation because you’ve got a traditional territory. You’ve actually got to own some of it and you’ve got to own your own assets and command your own capital.”

Accompanying the series is a background programme surveying the outlook for Mäori leadership, featuring some of the emerging Mäori leaders and the 2001 Young Mäori Leaders Conference – the first to be held for 23 years.

The series concludes with a debate about what makes a good Mäori leader, recorded as part of last year’s Mäori Literature Week, featuring Alan Duff, Shane Jones, Tahu Potiki, Tama Potaka, Ripeka Evans and Alison Thom.

In his landmark 1967 book, The Changing Role of the Leader in Mäori Society, Maharaia Winiata argued that Mäori leadership stems from certain circumstances – just as the nineteenth century and the Ngata era produced certain types of leaders, the leaders featured in Ngä Manu Täiko are examples of the leaders who have emerged in our own time.
Series Schedule: Date
Sir Tipene O’Regan Sunday 23 February
Whatarangi Winiata Sunday 2 March
Iritana Tawhiwhirangi Sunday 9 March
Sir Robert Mahuta Sunday 16 March
Hirini Moko Mead Sunday 23 March
Pita Sharples Sunday 30 March
Backgrounder-the outlook for Mäori Leadership Sunday 6 April
Mäori Leadership Debate Sunday 13 April

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