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Speech: Turia - Launch of Waiata Moteatea CD and Open Day

Hon Tariana Turia

Minister for Whanau Ora
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister of Social Development
Associate Minister of Tertiary Education Skills & Employment

Friday 15 February 2013 SPEECH

Ngati Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust
Launch of Waiata Moteatea CD and Open Day
Maniapoto Culture and Education Centre - Waitomo Caves

E rau rangatira ma, e huihui mai nei ki raro i te maru o nga marae o Ngati Maniapoto, tena koutou katoa.

E Barney, e Koata me nga kaumatua o Maniapoto, tenei te mihi ki a koutou katoa mo ou whakaaro rangatira kia ora tonu enei waiata tuku iho hei taonga ma nga uri whakatipu. Na reira, tēna koutou katoa.
In making our way here to the land of Maniapoto, I reflected on the legacy begun in the late 1970s, by the movers and shakers of the day - Morehu Te Whare, Kingi Hetet, Koro Wetere, Daniel Te Kanawa – and the whānau that dreamed of a better day.

Today that better day has dawned – as we look around and witness the strength and the passion of the whānau who connect to Maniapoto Marae.

The vision that your tribal leaders had for this day grew out of the whakatauki - "kia mau ki tena, kia mau ki te kawau maro".

It was a commitment to ensure your wellbeing is determined by the strength of your ability to stand together united in spirit, mind and purpose.

You know, in all the years I’ve been coming to the Trust, I’ve always thought the PACT referred to the concept of an agreement – a covenant – a commitment if you like that each of the eighteen marae have given to the concept of whānau connectedness.

It seemed to fit the way you are – the model you demonstrate of Maniapoto whanau and your Marae at the centre of your community infrastructure.

Well I’ve just learnt PACT is actually an anagram for Personal Annual Contribution Target. It illustrates an even deeper commitment to your future – to be sustainable for the long-term – to have a practical foundation for supporting the cultural, social and economic development of all your whanau.

It is indeed about the long term plan.

I have to say I love that. One of the most exciting times in my life was back home, when we established what we called the Regional Development Trust. Our whanau were contributing anything between two dollars a week to twenty dollars – whatever they could afford – and they expected nothing in return.

We were investing in ourselves – fuelled by that self-belief that we could do for ourselves.

We set up the Development Board – and started running small businesses - and it was from those humble beginnings that our kura kaupapa and our health centre evolved.

So when I look at what you have done here, with the strength of your marae-based whanau collective - and the investment you have made in marae maintenance and development, I know just how exciting your transformation is.

Today then, has been a long time in the making.

Thirty two years ago, in 1981, when you established the charitable trust, your focus was clear - you were embarking on a journey to rebuild and revitalise Maniapoto identity, tikanga and mana.
That journey has taken you over many different routes.

Five years into your long-term plan, the Maniapoto Training Agency was opened to support whanau in structured training and education programmes working on Marae projects.

Six years after that Maniapoto Community Services opened its doors, providing additional health, social and welfare services for the people throughout this rohe.

Today, then, is another step forward.

I am so proud to be here with you to launch this collection of waiata moteatea. What a wonderful resource for the descendants of Ngati Maniapoto – te roopu kaumatua o ngā taonga tuku iho waiata moteatea.

This book and the CD is about you – the essence of who you are. It represents your history, your stories, your successes, your memories.

All of us know the importance of waiata moteatea to our people. Moteatea are traditional waiata which tell our stories – lament our losses – maintain our whakapapa.

They help us to connect to the spirit world – they are a vital means of acknowledging our relationship to the environment from which we depend on for our survival - of reminding us who we are and where we have come from.

In our travels to national gatherings - we hear many of these waiata recited around the motu – showing us the connections we all have to each other.

The language is poetic and eloquent - in both Maori and English – an indication of the command of both languages held by our elders and their ability to communicate at the deepest level.

I understand this resource was a collaboration of your marae and local community – of both rangatahi and kaumatua.

I want to acknowledge Leylin Stewart and Te Wharekura o Maniapoto, Raniera Winikerei and Maniapoto FM and artist Daniel Ormsby for your contributions to the making of this taonga.

Over the past decades, we have witnessed our families moving from our traditional rural homes to the cities – here in Aotearoa – but often to Australia – or much further - to seek education and employment for a better way of life. Many cannot return home as often as they would like. This resource without a doubt will be treasured by them as an opportunity to stay connected - while separated hundreds of miles from home.

At the heart of your logo, is a representation of your marae. It tells the world that for Maniapoto - the marae is the bastion of the culture. The taonga we are launching today was born proudly out of your marae. It is not a Crown construct – the project was not an output of an agency contract - a deliverable for a departmental specification.

It was born from your dreams and aspirations - to reaffirm your status and mana as whanau, hapu and iwi, in everything you do.
It was a conscious decision on your part - to accept responsibility for the wellbeing of your taonga – to look after and protect your history.
It is yet another expression of the commitment from Maniapoto Marae to preserve the prosperity, wellbeing and cultural identity of the people.

If there is one thing that Ngati Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust is known for, it is that decision to connect to all your marae - to tie everyone together. Kia tuhonohono tatou katoa.

Your reputation is well-established – your greatest legacy will be the belief that you have lived by – the faith in a united group of marae working together for the common good of one another.

It is particularly heartening to see that our rangatahi have been so involved in the production of this resource. Since the growth of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Maori - and the return to our marae, we have seen the development of the pride in our young people who stand proud as Maori, as Maniapoto, as Ngati Apa or Whanganui, as Tuwharetoa – strong in the sense of who they are – because of the knowledge passed down from their ancestors.

And with the assistance of modern technology – which I know our young people have embraced whole heartedly – we can continue to hold onto our knowledge and pass it on to future generations.

I see the production of this resource as reinforcement and reflection of the cultural revitalisation of the iwi. It is a taonga to be treasured and I am sure will be one of many more great productions for the people.

I congratulate you and I commend you for the vision you have upheld - and the strategy you have delivered on – in your journey of self-determination.

Na reira, koutou ra te ahi kaa o Ngati Maniapoto, e tiaki nei i te mana o to iwi - koutou hoki, nga uri i hoki mai ki te kainga ki te tautoko i te kaupapa, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

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