I am sensing an encouraging turning of the tide with regard to a better understanding and appreciation of te ao Māori. On what basis have I come to this conclusion?
- The overwhelming support for the transfer of Panepane Point from Western Bay of Plenty District Council to the original owners of the land, the five local hapū of Matakana Island and the transfer of land on Mission St, Tauranga from Tauranga City Council to a local Māori land Trust.
- The increasing numbers of non-Māori learning te reo Māori, to the point that there are
waiting lists in some areas for te reo Māori courses. Correspondingly, the use of te reo Māori is becoming increasingly common.
- The increasing number of councils seeking to establish Māori wards in recognition of the need for better representation of Māori at a governance level in local government. The
recent announcement by the Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta, to overturn the option for a local referendum to stop the establishment of Māori wards, so it is consistent with changes to any other wards, reflects the call by local government for changes to the Local Electoral Act to better allow for Māori wards.
- An increasing acknowledgement of the impact of colonisation on Māori health and
wellbeing, 180 years on. While I do not believe I can be held to account for the actions of my forefathers who arrived in Aotearoa in the 1840s, I do believe I have a
responsibility now to understand and acknowledge the devastating impact of colonisation on Māori and contribute to de-colonising Aotearoa.
Lastly, I see an increased recognition of indigenous wisdom and values. For example the
importance of whakawhanaungatanga (relationships) and manaakitanga (hospitality), their
holistic understand of health, wellbeing and the environment, rongoa (traditional Māori
healing), astrology – just some examples.
SociaLink, an organisation that supports and empowers the social and community sector in the Western Bay of Plenty, is on its own journey to honour te Tiriti o Waitangi and to learn how we can best serve Māori and kaupapa Māori providers.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
For example, the board of SociaLink is establishing a two-house model which enables equal representation of Māori and non-Māori as well seats for local mana whenua iwi, which enables the voice of both non-Māori and Māori to guide SociaLink's kaupapa (purpose).
At a staff level, we are growing our understanding and use of tikanga Māori (protocols), for example, use of karakia at the start and end of hui, introducing ourselves using our pepeha.
We have been incredibly fortunate to be able to develop a relationship, learn and draw on the expertise of our local hapū, Ngāi Tamarawaho of Ngāti Ranginui iwi in our journey. We are wanting to also build relationships with the other local iwi in our rohe (area). We make mistakes as we learn and Ngāi Tamarawaho are gracious in understanding when we don't get it right.
If you are not already familiar with our local iwi, their history, including pre-European times, the land wars and subsequent land confiscation, I would really encourage you to find out.
A great book has been written by Buddy Mikaere, a historian and consultant, and Cliff Simons, a military historian, called A Victory at Gate Pa? The battle of Pukehinahina Gate Pā 1864. The evidence compiled for cases to the Treaty of Waitangi tribunals by local iwi also makes for interesting reading.
These can be found on the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal website www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz.
Happy Waitangi Day 2021!
- Liz Davies is the general manager, SociaLink