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Turia Speech, Grad Ceremony Tukorehe Marae

Speech to Graduation Ceremony; Tukorehe marae

2nd December 2005

Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru

Te Iwi o Ngati Tukorehe tena koutou, Patumakuku tena koutou, Ngati Raukawa whanui tena koutou katoa.

Tena koutou kua hui i tenei ra te honore nga tauira kua riro nei i a ratau nga tohu matauranga.

What I want to say to you all but especially to you the graduands and your whanau is that in preparing my korero I thought I had better do some research, which for me was talking to a few people.

In the process of the research (talking to people) I discovered that Patumakuku is the name of the stream and that got me thinking about water.

It got me thinking about water because I know how involved you have been in preserving your wetlands and the environment of the foreshore at Kuku beach.

I remember my visit in August this year, spending some time with the people of Ngati Tukorehe and Ngati Wehiwehi, admiring Te Haakari wetland project. We planted two trees, and celebrated the role of mana whenua as tangata tiaki of the wetlands and foreshores.

Water symbolised for me the notion of streams of thought.

It also got me thinking about the brain. You might now be thinking “where the dickens is she going with this - has she got water on the brain”.

Before you phone a particular service to assess if I am need of assistance I need a little time to tell you how important I think water is, to the brain.

While thinking of the brain I realised it sits in a fluid - water.

As the name of your awa, Patumakuku is the appropriate name, for your iwi educational arm.

I marvel at the wisdom of those who have chosen so appropriately in naming its iwi educational arm after its stream Patumakuku.

A stream wending its way through to a foreshore, a seabed and an ocean of knowledge, knowledge, both old and new.

A stream whose core is rich with matauranga Maori, and which seeks out the tributaries of western thought and learning.

A stream, which will always be of Ngati Tukorehe and will always be known by Te iwi o Ngati Tukorehe as Patumakuku.

A stream glistening, shimmering and rippling with the excitement of achieving academic and intellectual excellence.

A stream of wisdom and intellectual competence, the source of which can be found in a hinterland of those wise ones of yesteryear.

Wise ones who remain with us and are present in their descendants; these graduands and their whanau who I have the privilege to be amongst today.

You who are the faces of the ancestors. Koutou nga kanohi o ratau ma.

Na reira koutou nga tauira, nga whanau, tena koutou.

I too have an awa but this day is about your awa.

I have floated in here today honoured to be amongst you, honoured to be amongst a people who are passionate about learning, who pride themselves in perfection and who have come from a line of tipuna who have demonstrated profound wisdom.

I know a number of Ngati Tukorehe people who have achieved academically and who I would consider to be an intellectual elite.

None of them (at least the ones I know) have ever flaunted their knowledge, if anything they have tended to understate their achievements, leaving it for the achievements to do the talking.

While I may say they are an elite, they would say their elitism is a result of being born of Tukorehe.

All those I know, still know how to work in the kitchen, serve at the tables, put down a hangi, lay out the mattresses in the wharepuni and sweep the floor of the wharekai.

They aspire to be servants to the people.

I am sure the same will be said of today’s graduands.

While you have all had to make the individual effort, I know that those around you, those who care for you, those who love you, have all contributed to your achievement and your success.

Your success is their success.

Ngati Tukorehe, you have, through these graduands, demonstrated your belief in the one great power and that is the power of the mind.

As I look at the group and the age range I am in awe that there is recognition that learning can start anywhere and there will never be an end.

Like we feed the body as no doubt Ngati Tukorehe has fed itself from its awa and sea, we also need to feed the spirit, the soul and the mind.

In the oriori of Tuteremoana reference is made to the power of the mind in the words;

“Kotahi tonu te hiringa, i kake ai a Tane ki Tikitiki-o-rangi ko te hiringa i te mahara”

“There was one great power which enabled Tane to reach the upper most heaven and that was the power of the mind”

As we all know Tikitiki-o-rangi was where Tane received the baskets of knowledge.

Today we are all here to celebrate people who have dedicated themselves to the receipt of knowledge as Tane did and I am sure that each one of you graduands will dedicate yourselves to being the best you can be to those who will weep over you when your journey takes you, as it will take us all, to the place which is our ultimate destination.

Let us enjoy this moment, let us celebrate these graduands and their whanau and as a result of their success let us bask in the pursuit of knowledge.

Na reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatau katoa.

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