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Symposium To Carve Inspiring Future For Māori

Māori community leaders from across Aotearoa will join students and academics in Ōtautahi Christchurch this weekend to explore how knowledge from the past can be harnessed to transform the future.

The inaugural Māori Futures Symposium is being hosted by the University of Canterbury (UC), in partnership with Tokona Te Raki - The Māori Futures Collective with support from Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence).

Symposium Co-convenor and UC Head of School Aotahi: Māori and Indigenous Studies Sacha McMeeking (Ngāi Tahu) says the event aims to share knowledge and models of Māori social transformation to inspire current generations to create an ambitious road map for the future.

“Across the motu (country), Māori are pioneering transformative work, using innovative kaupapa Māori methods. We want to celebrate, promote, and build our collective understanding of how to build the future, by Māori, for Māori, as Māori. 

“We believe ancestral knowledge contains the map for creating stronger collective futures. We aim to share insights from pūkenga (experts), practitioners, grassroots activists and leaders.”

The symposium has more than 100 registered delegates and renowned guest speakers, including Tā Tipene O’Regan (UC Adjunct Professor and former chairman of the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board), Tokona te Raki – Māori Futures Collective Executive Director Dr Eruera Tarena (Symposium Co-convenor), award-winning Stuff Pou Tiaki Editor Carmen Parahi, actor and mental health advocate Rob Mokaraka, Māori Party President Che Wilson, and Professor Angus Macfarlane

Professor Macfarlane, who will give a keynote address, was last week named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours for his services to education, psychology and Māori.

The Symposium is also an opportunity for alumni of UC’s Māori Master of Māori and Indigenous Leadership (MMIL) programme to reunite. The weekend’s agenda includes a new award, the Ati Rau - Be a Good Ancestor Award, presented by Puata Hou Ltd Director Bentham Ohia to an outstanding current MMIL student or graduate on Saturday.

Unique in New Zealand, the MMIL degree began in 2017 and is an applied professional programme dedicated to supporting the advancement of Māori and indigenous self-determination.

MMIL Programme Director Liam Grant (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou) says the Symposium is an opportunity for MMIL alumni, Māori post graduate students, community practitioners, researchers and scholars to connect and recharge. “This will be an amazing platform for our dynamic community to come together united by our dedication to bringing positive change.”

In the lead-up to the Symposium a group of MMIL students are taking part in a one-week haerenga (tour) of significant sites for Māori, including Kerikeri and the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Wairoa, and Parihaka.

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