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Turia: Hui for Management and Kaimahi

Te Wananga o Aotearoa Hui a Kaupapa: Whakamaua Kia Tina!

Hui for Management and Kaimahi; Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia

Wednesday 23rd January 2008; 9am

Ko te tae tawhiti whaia kia tata; Ko te pae tata whakamaua kia tina

‘Te Pae Tata’

Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

A year before Mount Everest relented to the ascent of the New Zealander and the Sherpa, telegrams from all parts of the world had come in to Turangawaewae, mourning the loss of a woman hailed as 'the greatest Maori woman of our time'.

But for the people of this area, they did not grieve for what the media described as a ‘Princess’ - they grieved for a woman who was most frequently seen wearing an apron and hat, working in the gardens, grubbing out blackberry roots, feeding the pigs.

When the media had flocked to ask this woman, Te Puea Herangi, what she wanted to be remembered for when she had received her medal as a Commander of the British Empire, she replied:

Ka mahi au, ka inoi au, ka moe au, ka mahi ano.

I work, I pray, I sleep, and then I work again.

Last week I spent three days at Parihaka, the homelands of the visionary peace activists Te Whiti and Tohu celebrating the peace festival and restoring my wairua for the battle this year.

The inspiration of those who hold visions, who carry dreams, who look beyond the mundane to search for a wider meaning, have been much on my mind as I came to this Hui-a-kaupapa for Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

When I leave you today, I will be returning to my tribal lands, to join with the morehu to celebrate the birthday and cherish the legacy of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.

We will be gathering to treasure the impact of his prophecies, his call for kotahitanga, for enlightenment, strength and divine peace on both a spiritual and physical level.

And so how does the impact of inspirational leadership match up to what you are doing as kaimahi for Te Wananga o Aotearoa?

What do the many rangatira from various whanau and hapu possess which inspires us so?

What was it that caused the nation to grieve so deeply for our beloved Dame Te Atairangikaahu?

I believe it is in reflecting on our collective loss, that we come closer to understanding the need for kaupapa and tikanga to be the guiding force to building unity and nationhood in Aotearoa.

In mourning the passing of people who impressed us with their relentless energy, their endearing humility, their enduring compassion, we have recognised in ourselves that same spiritual strength, that profound love for people and for our natural world.

The theme for this hui is whakamaua kia tina.

Those three words say it all.

The concept of kia maua - is to carry.

The ‘ti’ in tina relates to the highest peak - the tihi – the lofty mountains to whom we face our sights.

The ‘na’ in tina is from whom - the mana of the people.

And so, when we say whakamaua kia tina – we are seeking to embrace and to enhance the life force of us all – to aspire towards the most radiant horizons, to follow and connect with a collective destiny.

As kaimahi, your greatest achievement will not be in what ever groupings of letters follow your name - the glory and the honour of fame.

Your greatest success will be in the way in which you have inspired and uplifted all those with whom you are privileged to work.

It may not necessarily be about what you are teaching – that resource may be just as easily accessed by website or video or print.

The greatest success will be in the way in which you inspire others to be what they want to be. By impressing them with your very being, the values, the kaupapa, the philosophies you model.

Your inspiration will be evident as a reflection of :

- your ihi –that sense that life is purposeful and meaningful;

- your wehi –that sense of an appreciation of life, the sheer wonderment towards all aspects of your landscape;

- your wana – the manifestation of your wisdom – the thrill of life in its fullness.

I recall a friend of mine talking about teenagers wanting to experience te ihi, te wehi, te wana of life. He claims “that is what they are doing when they climb out the window at night when the parents have said the big NO”.

It certainly gave me a new perspective to think about when my mokopuna are expressing challenging reasons as to why they should be allowed to go partying! The thrill of life in its fullness!

It’s about modelling the vision, being - as well as doing - the change we want to be.

It’s about recognizing who we are – understanding where we come from – what is our distinctive character.

At Te Wananga o Aotearoa you have always known that. Your mission statement aspires towards equipping people with knowledge of their heritage, their language, their culture so they can handle the world at large with confidence and self determination.

Your tüäpapa, your foundation studies such as Mahi Ora, your programmes in Matauranga Maori, Aronui, Toi Ora, Umanga, te reo – are all distinctive through this emphasis on treating everyone with respect, welcoming all tauira within the context of whanau.

It is a philosophy which characterises the model of learning at this Wananga as uniquely Aotearoa.

One of the accolades that has been consistently repeated over the last ten days, has been the notion of a 'Quintessential New Zealander'.

And then in the next breath has been the question, how will our children learn these values, these qualities that we so admire?

I would suggest that this organisation, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, is already demonstrating your commitment to the kaupapa that reflect the wonder of Aotearoa.

You know, that what takes people to the tihi of their maunga – the peak of their potential – is that sense of inspiration and knowing that we have the right to be who we want to be, who we're destined to be.

You show in the success of your programmes, an understanding that to make a contribution of consequence, we must be strong in who we are, as collectives, as whanau, hapu and iwi, as peoples of the Pacific, as communities.

Three and a half years ago, on 24 May 2004, we came here to Turangawaewae to ask the question – was it the right time for a Maori Party to be established?

I remember that day vividly. Over 1300 people were gathered here – at the time of the Koroneihana – and it was vital that we be prepared to listen to what the people wanted.

We knew – as we know now – our greatest strength is in our people.

Any tertiary institution can have a strong prospectus; any political party can have a robust policy manifesto; any movement can have rules and guidelines for operation.

But what will make the most enduring contribution to change, is the strength of the collective will, to be united in our call.

The mood of the people, the collective soul.

The Maori Party – like Te Wananga o Aotearoa – has always recognized that our kaupapa, our tikanga, the aspirations and values of those who have gone before us, prepares us best for meeting the challenges of this and future generations.

Your challenge to me, to look at te pae tata – the big picture and how Te Wananga o Aotearoa can contribute to making a difference – is the same challenge that we in the Maori Party face every day.

Sometimes we ask ourselves as a team of four – what have we done today to advance the aspirations of those who elected us in?

I believe it is all about the vision that we hold before us.

For centuries the peoples of the Pacific have been brave and courageous navigators, exploring, voyaging, connecting - setting our sights on distant horizons and seeking out the next challenge.

We must now call on that same spirit of adventure to continue to shape Aotearoa, to care for Aotearoa, to challenge Aotearoa in holding true to the values of respect for mana whenua, the compassion and spiritual awe manifest in wairuatanga, the unity of kotahitanga.

These kaupapa – our responsibility to protect our environment, kaitiakitanga; our obligations towards each other, manaakitanga; for knowing our whanau are our greatest wealth, whanaungatanga – are our greatest resource in moving forward.

This year is a big year for us all. 2008 is the year in which the Maori Party seeks to bring all seven Maori seats together – to uphold the vision of a collective voice of influence for Maori.

Our vision is to be the independent Maori voice for our people in Parliament – to continue to work hard to ensure Maori voices are heard in every aspect of the Parliament – but to also contribute to the ongoing strengthening of the character of this nation through our base in kaupapa Maori.

We truly believe that the founding document of this country, Te Tiriti o Waitangi provides us with the strongest foundation for our future.

Together, mana whenua and all those who now call these lands home, must advance on our greatest journey to build the spirit of common-unity.

This is the gift that Te Wananga o Aotearoa has given to this country. Whakamaua kia tina!


ENDS

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