The highs and lows of the month (and a taonga of reflection) from the Tumuaki Takirua of Te Mana Ākonga, Renata White and Nkhaya Paulsen-More.
Renata: A lot has happened since the beginning of this year. We had our first hui Kaiārahi in February in Wellington. What a great opportunity to wānanga, discuss and share perspectives in the lead up to starting the semester. I think it is important to build those relationships and where possible, in person.
Nkhaya: Settling into the role didn’t really happen for me until recently. It’s hard to grasp the mana of the role until you’re in it; it makes me appreciate the responsibility more. I’ve learnt a bit about myself and how I fit into the grand scheme of "being Māori'' in the years leading up to TMĀ. But being here has given me a whole new perspective on te ao Māori that I’ve been lacking in the past.
Renata: Knowing how to answer from a te ao Māori perspective. Too often the Māori voice is requested to translate a Pākehā whakaaro and they believe they get a gold star by engaging and partnering with us. However, I think we are in a space where we are shifting conversations to better partnerships and better opportunities to support our members.
Nkhaya: I think we’re finding it hard to connect tauira Māori from local to national kaupapa. We definitely need to find a better way to merge both so that we don’t overwhelm roopū, but also keep them in the loop about issues that will directly affect them.
Taonga of the month
Renata: More of a dialogue on the mana we hold as leaders: we must always have a Te Ao Māori lens within us and around us, in our conversations, in our meetings, in our hui, so that the next person that steps into these positions can feel that presence. I look back at the mahi that our previous Tumuaki and Te Tari Whakahaere have done and am amazed at the amount that they have accomplished and produced.
Nkhaya: This article by Shilo Kino (Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui) was published last year, but there’s a specific section of it that gets me EVERY TIME I read it. The article tells the story of the Apulu sisters, but Shilo also talks about the importance of Māori voice in the media. When I do the late-night Gallery browse, every now and again, I come across the screenshot of this article. It’s empowering. It’s captivating. And you should read the full article if you haven’t already. xo