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Turia: Launch of Revamped Ngati Rangi Strategic Plan

24 March 2014

Launch of Revamped Ngati Rangi Strategic Plan
Ngati Rangi 2035 – Te Ara Ki Te Moungaroa
Maungarongo Marae, Ohakune

This is very special for me – to retrace our steps to a time five years ago when Tammy Davis and I were given the honour of launching the Iwi Strategic Plan.

I have to admit that at the time I was somewhat stunned at your vision: kia mura ai te ora o Ngati Rangi ki tu o te 1000 Tau– that Ngati Rangi will continue to vibrantly exist one thousand years from now.

I had thought what an awesome ambition for our mokopuna to inherit – the sustainability of Ngati Rangi, the sustenance of all that gives us life, the vitality and the vision of our tupuna protected forever more.

By anyone’s definition, that is a long term plan - a legacy to believe in.

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about legacy-building.

This year marks my 18th year in parliament – a role which has taken me from Te Kao to Russia and everywhere in-between.

Wherever I roam, there is nothing that sends shivers down my spine more than a waiata from home.

And as I was coming here today I thought about the words our kuia, Nanny Moe Ruka left us, ‘he aroha, te aroha whakatinanatia! Nga kupu tohutohu i waihotia iho, hei whakahoehoe i te motu nei eei.’

It is a beautiful message – we must reciprocate the love! These are the teachings that have been passed on for us to practice throughout the land.

What does it mean to reciprocate the love?

How do we wade through the sea of doubters - move past those who ridicule or those who belittle - to instead find the love within? What will it take for all of us to have faith in our own families - to restore the essence of all we are?

All of us here know the challenges which limit our potential to be the best we can be. Whether it be the adverse impact of mind-altering substances, or the seeds of self-doubt, we have much experience to draw on about the issues that detract from our ability to be fabulous.

But much stronger, much more powerful than any of these issues, is the overwhelming source of love and strength that is found within our whakapapa.
That incredible bond of connection that leads us to lean on one another, to learn from one another, to apply the wisdom of our olds to today’s challenges.

I showed the Ngati Rangi 2035 plan to one of our mokopuna and for her, one line stood out – Ngati Rangi determines its own success.

And I thought, what better ambition could there be for our people than to want to determine our own success?

How will we know when we have reached ‘Muramura te ahi’ – the state of prosperity?

In the strategies of your plan, we are told success will be found in securing sustainable revenue streams - in leading and supporting local enterprise and employment and empowering our people with financial knowledge and wealth creation pathways.

Those pathways are indeed an important platform for long term growth – but there is one more strategy that I want to highlight as the quintessential foundation of your future – to foster and maintain positive and productive internal and external relationships.

And so I come back to Nanny Moe’s call to reciprocate the love.

How do give meaning to those kupu? How do we walk the talk, invest in each other?

How well do we truly care for all our families, without judgement or blame?

Are we modelling the aspirations of our ancestors to hold each other close - to stay warm in the embrace of our whanau, to truly know one another.

As we drove into town, it’s great to see the billboard with all of the family and community standing together, united in your commitment to eliminate violence. As we enter the election season I have to tell you - there’s nothing that helps you live up to your own expectations quite as much as your face on a billboard – it encourages a level of accountability and transparency – it’s about keeping us honest.

We are not known solely by what we say or what we sing. We are known by enacting that korero in our everyday life.

But by far the most gruelling of accountability measures is facing up to our families - being prepared to expose our frailties and having the expectation that support will be forthcoming - that’s what we mean by reciprocity.

I want to dwell further into this notion of success.

How often do we express our appreciation of whanau members who are fantastic parents or those who always turn up to tautoko the kaupapa of the hui? Are we able to recognise the courage of those who dare to be different? Do we recognise the hard work of those at the sink or in the storeroom as much as those out front?

I always think back to cousin Ritchie Akapita – a superstar on the rugby field, but also always found caring for the marae - picking up those cigarette butts, getting rid of the smallest scrap of rubbish - so proud was he of this - his home.

The legacy of your work today will be known a thousand years from now, when the people and the places across this rohe, are cared for to that same extent.

It is about keeping your dreams and aspirations, your values – the kaupapa – not just in our hearts and our heads, but in our actions.

I am always amused when reporters say to me, that the Maori Party was born out of the Foreshore and Seabed bill and now that the legislation has passed, is the Maori Party on the way out? It demonstrates to me a fundamental lack of knowledge about the importance of our kaupapa - the value we place on whakapapa - the all enduring purpose we derive from protecting and preserving all that we hold dear.

Because as long as there is a foreshore, we will be there upholding our practices of kaitiakitanga.

Will there ever be a time when we become detached from te awa tupua - a time when we are unable to say, ‘Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au?’ Of course not – from the mountains to the sea, we will always be at one with our whenua, our whakapapa, our world.

But our ability to move from survival status and enter into the spirit of revival, requires all of us to step up, to take control of our destiny, to be part of the plan.

The dreaming must come from us all – we do not need to wait for a settlement to be signed - we must not assume that leadership and responsibility only resides within the walls of the Ngati Rangi Trust building or at Maungarongo Marae.

All of us can and must step up, to shape the strongest pathway forward – Te Ara ki te Moungaroa.

And I want to just mihi to my nephew Che, for the sacrifice and the passion of his love for the people. He and Missy came home, to invest in a future for their babies, a future for all our babies. I know it has not been without its challenges. It has been an enormous responsibility well beyond the boundaries of any job description and we thank you for all you continue to do and be on our behalf.

He is now opening up the opportunity for another one of the family to be appointed as the Pou Arahi for Ngati Rangi Trust.

Today then is an exciting milestone as you ready yourself for the new horizons ahead, while celebrating and consolidating on the amazing gains you have already achieved. Who will step up to the challenge?

Thank you again for inviting me to come and share this wonderful moment in time with our families.

I wish you all much strength of heart and presence of purpose as together you carve out your own distinctive Ngati Rangi pathway.


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