The Rotorua Daily Post asked a range of local Maori leaders what they wanted to see happen in Rotorua for 2017.
Ngati Whakaue kaumatua Monty Morrison:
This year I want Maori in Rotorua to take a more active role on our community.
Rotorua Lakes Council's Rotorua Way discussions is an opportunity to forge a new future for us all and my hope is that all age groups are represented in these discussions.
Just before the Christmas break I attended a social gathering, all gathered had associations with or Maori business in Rotorua and beyond. I am keen to ensure that these business and social achievers and entrepreneurs continue to make a contribution.
Our past PM, John Key stated that no one owns the water. I have to admit I struggle to understand this concept. Water is a major issue for Maori and for the nation. For Te Arawa, water defines who we are. Maori Leaders across the country are discussing this very issue and I think it important that we to ensure we are fully informed and making the commitment to participate is a great start.
Rotorua children's author, local personality and Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust trustee Aunty Bea Yates:
Positive, ongoing support from hapu, whanau, and iwi community working groups to encourage young Maori to achieve their goals, to make them stand tall and be proud, especially in the work force.
Tautoko, (support) awhi (help) manaaki (care) are three very important aspects in life.
Parents need to sincerely care for their children, show responsibility, respect.
Grandparents and family members must be role models, lead the way. Finding a job or following a career is a must. Parents need to be good parents.
Affordable homes, gone are the days when you could purchase a comfy home for $150,000.
Respect shown to each other, children, elders, the community, and fellow men, sharing responsibility.
The Judicial system disappoints me at times especially when drug dealers and users ruin the lives of many of our tamariki and their whanau, they need to have stronger, firmer systems in place.
Rotorua Lakes councillor Tania Tapsell:
Currently Maori earn less than non-Maori, so I would love to see Maori household incomes lifted to meet the average weekly household income - it goes wider than the that.
I would like to see the contribution to our economy grow, not only from a personal, but also nation level.
The Maori Asset base is worth $8.6 billion, yet we still have questions from small groups on the validity of Maori in business and politics.
Instead, we should focus on encouraging participation and investment, as well as recognising the value and potential of Maori within the Bay of Plenty.
Most importantly, it would be great to see a continuation of the partnerships between not only Maori but all cultures to the development of Rotorua, and New Zealand as a whole.
Nga Pumanawa e Waru community engagement facilitator and entertainer Russell Harrison:
When being asked this question my immediate response is "survive!".
Although I am aware that people die everyday, the toll on Rotorua has been somewhat more memorable than usual - 2016 has taken with it many great leaders, orators, repositories of knowledge and those committed to the service of their communities, families and loved one's through social, educational and cultural endeavour.
I want Maori of today to survive in a way that ensures longevity, continued renewal and the active pursuit of health and well being and educational advancement, not too much to ask really!
I am already aware of a growing number of focused, passionate Maori who are choosing to commit to these ideals of healthy mind, healthy body through cultural pursuit, and as Te Matatini 2017 races towards us we can all rest assured that Rotorua will be well represented.
What I would be intrigued to see is how we, the community of Rotorua deal with the harsh realities of what the statistics tell us about homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence and drug & alcohol abuse.
None of these systemic issues have "silver bullet" solutions but in my experience real solutions come from collective responsibility.
In 2017 I want to continue to see Maori working collaboratively to reach a common goal, now I'm not saying that we haven't got anything to celebrate or be proud of but we must not become complacent in the things that need to be done to allow us all to grow.