Tena koutou katoa.
Tuhia ki te rangi, tuhia ki te whenua, tuhia ki te ngakau o nga tangata, ko te mea nui, ko te aroha. Tihei Mauri Ora!
I have been invited to provide a regular column for the Te Maori section on issues that I believe are of interest to our community.
Before starting, perhaps a brief resume would be useful.
I am of Te Arawa, Tainui and Ngati Porou descent, born and raised in Rotorua and now live on my Ngati Te Takinga papakainga in Mourea on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.
I have three beautiful adult children, three mokopuna and a loving partner of 20 years.
In my 40 years plus of working life, I have enjoyed many experiences as a geologist, human resource manager, through to many facets of Maori/Indigenous socio-economic development nationally and internationally and have travelled widely.
I will draw on these experiences to share my thoughts on matters close to the hearts and minds of our community as we strive to reconcile the many challenges we face to make a positive difference for our children and future generations.
I will start by referencing whanau, the very core of who we are and what we become and there is no better place to start than with my own.
I am the youngest of five siblings, in a close family, with loving parents who taught us the value of hard work.
While we didn't have much in terms of material wealth, it is these values of connectivity, love and positive work ethic that are priceless and I feel blessed to have been born to the legacy my parents have left us.
It is what we do with this that counts and the opportunity to practise and pass on what we have been taught to our children and mokopuna.
Sadly, this is not a picture that can be painted for many of our whanau.
The level of generational disconnects and deprivation on many fronts is horrendous and in a material world where the bottom-line profit constitutes a "rock star" economy, the future seems bleak.
However, I want to paint a holistic picture of hope and prosperity, with reality checks, but with whanau well-being at the core.
There is no silver bullet - it is an inter-generational journey of reconnection, healing and reconciliation on social, cultural, spiritual and economic fronts.
Te Taru is from Te Arawa, Tainui and Ngati Porou descent and is the chairman of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, Rotorua Lakes Council partnership. His website is http://tetaruwhite.com.