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2009 Tihei Mauriora


14 December 2009 - The Good News

He honore, he kororia ki te Atua, he maungarongo ki te whenua,
he whakaaro pai ki ngā tangata katoa
Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth, Goodwill to all men

Anglican Archbishop, Whakahuihui Vercoe's simple eloquence one summer's morning in 1990... "One hundred and fifty years ago, a compact was signed, a covenant was made between two people... But since the signing of that treaty... our partners have marginalised us. You have not honored the treaty"...

What was actually said at the Archbishop's Waitangi speech, the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty, some said was radical, and unexpected but his message was 'good news' to Māori generally, but it made others including royalty, the authorities, and other dignitaries' present to sit up and take notice. It was impromptu – in the same way, perhaps, as the messages from the Old Testament prophets were unscripted and forthright, but with plenty going on to stir up even the who's who of heavyweights in those times.

In a comparable vein, over two millennia ago, One who was called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the Prince of Peace", caused a similar stir with his 'good news' message for mankind. While supportive of the downcast and vulnerable, His message threatened the establishment. Today His message is as valid as it was during His lifetime. Actually, it is hard to imagine any time in history that has been more in need of peace and goodwill among all people than now.

As we head into Christmas it is a time for returning home, for gatherings and for enjoying precious time with whānau. Look forward with optimism to a brighter, challenging future in 2010. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Whakahuihui Vercoe  Download this message in PDF!



7 December 2009 - Rising to the challenge

E Tu‐rau‐ngā‐tao e, pewhea tāua e whiti ai? Tēnā anō kei ona roratanga
'O Tu rau‐ngā‐tao, how can we cross the river? At the place of its weakness.
Difficult obstacles can be surmounted if one perseveres and all avenues are explored.

According to 'The Listener' (Dec 5, 2009), Māori language pioneer, educator and author, Dr Katerina Mataira is the 5th most powerful and influential Māori in 2009. The greatest challenge she had to face was helping set up the first kura kaupapa Māori. "No support from the community. No support from the Ministry. No support from any of the funding bodies. No resources". She basked in the challenge.

There is a line in her award-winning children's book, 'Marama Tangiweto, Crybaby Moon', which again typifies her character. Thunder and Lightning stopped to ask Moon why she was crying. "I'm crying because I can't see my face in the sea" sobbed Moon. "Oh is that all" said Thunder and Lightning. "That's only because you're not dazzling enough. Why don't you dazzle a lot harder? Then you'll see your face in the sea".

How you address the challenges life throws your way says a lot about who you are, and what you can become. Each of us can learn from Katerina's experience how to stand up to life's challenges. That recipe for success might include a pinch of dedication, a bit of courage, a few cups of dogged determination, and a generous helping of tenacity. What a great example of leadership she is. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Katerina Mataira  Download this message in PDF!



30 November 2009 - Immense Courage

Ka mahi te tawa uho ki te riri
Well done you whose courage is like the heart of the tawa tree

One of NZ's best known writers, Auckland University Professor Witi Ihimaera, who recently received the 2009 Arts Foundation laureate award, reflects in his epic novel Whale Rider of his ancestor Paikea's extraordinary voyage over a thousand years ago from Raiatea on the back of a whale, landing at dawn at a place called Whangara, on the East Coast. Few can know of the courage of our forebears' in travelling across the vast South Pacific ocean in search of a new home in Aotearoa. Our ancestors made their heroic voyages by sea-going waka, navigating by stars and migratory bird patterns – literally 'on a song and a prayer'. Ihimaera says, "The immensity of their courage beggars description".

In all our forebears' voyages lies the beginning of our own - because their voyages are carried on by us. We have an obligation to our past to carry on those dreams not just for ourselves but for the futures of our tamariki and mokopuna.

Like any voyage, the path to success starts within you. On your journey, you may not know what challenges you'll meet on the way, or even when you might reach your destination and achieve your goal. Courage is simply choosing to do something. Start from the beginning and keep on going until you reach the end, and never give up. Like our ocean-voyaging forbears', you can do it – you know you can. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Witi Ihimaera  Download this message in PDF!



23 November 2009 - Knowing who you are

He tina ki runga, he tāmore ki raro
Contentment above, firmly rooted below
(Those with a good family foundation and proper grounding in their own culture and heritage will find satisfaction and contentment in life)

At a recent MANU AO Seminar, the Hon Dr Pita Sharples, Minister of Māori Affairs, referred to Te Arawa academic, Makereti Papakura, as a classic example of Māori development. "She understood the importance of attaining economic self-sufficiency, improving social conditions, and preserving one's culture and values". Makereti had been educated - in the old ways by her elders - about hunting with bird-snares, harvesting berries and fruit, and being tutored in genealogy and women's arts of weaving, dancing, song, and story. Her whānau played an integral and ongoing role in shaping the young, enquiring mind.

After being formally educated in the ways of her English father, Makereti became a tourist guide, formed a choir, and a concert party and in 1910 moved to London taking with her a carved house from Whakarewarewa, along with artefacts and ornaments. She attended Oxford University in the late 1920s but died just months before her thesis examination – later published as 'The old-time Māori' – the first extensive published ethnographic work by a Māori scholar.

She learnt that the pursuit of satisfaction and contentment in life was about making connections through whakapapa and asserting one's identity and traditions. In her view: "Every Māori especially if he came of a good family knew his or her genealogy and exact relationship to every relative. This was most important to a Māori." "A people, is a great and living people, only so long as it is mindful of its heritage." The secret of Makereti Papakura's own greatness lay in knowing who
she was. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Makareti Papakura  Download this message in PDF!



16 November 2009 - Make a contribution

Mate atu he tetekura, ara ake he tetekura
As one chief dies, another rises to take their place

For over a century, Te Aute College has been instrumental in shaping some of Māoridom's finest leaders. Last month, 15 former Te Aute College students were acknowledged for setting high benchmarks for future generations of Māori leaders. One of the First XV was Victoria University's foundation Professor of Māori Studies, Sir Hirini Moko Mead. Speaking of another great former student, he says John Waititi was a remarkable man for his time. He made a great contribution to Māoridom as a whole, to education, and then moved on. He had very strong feelings that "one should make a contribution – that you don't just go through life just enjoying it and milking it for whatever you can. The idea that everybody has a contribution to make - I think, would have come out of our Te Aute experience".

Leadership is ever changing. There are always new leaders emerging with their own unique styles of leadership to take over from ones' gone. Those who led before are no longer seen and memories invariably fade as people turn their attention to working with the new leadership in addressing current issues and challenges so that the futures of our tamariki and mokopuna are assured. Yes, life goes on, but make your mark in whatever you do. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Hirini Mead  Download this message in PDF!



9 November 2009 - No place like home

Tangata akona ki te kāinga, tungia ki te marae, tau ana
If a man is taught at his home, he will stand with confidence on the
marae, conducting himself properly, confidently and competently

If we want to create a world fit for our mokopuna, we must invest the time and effort required to nurture their leadership. In the past, the education of Māori children was a thorough preparation for life, with plenty of scope given for individual expression and growth. The focus was on the ability to climb mountains, to grow food, to build waka, to make a mat, to weave garments, read the tides, offer appropriate karakia, and look after siblings. Learning involved the whole whānau, and was a lifelong responsibility. Everyone had a say in providing opportunities to assist in shaping the young mind.

One of our great Māori leaders, Te Rangi Hiroa (also known as Sir Peter Buck) demonstrates this ably. He attributed much of his learning to a kuia called Kapuakore. Upon her death, Te Rangi Hiroa received Kapuakore's paddle, which he described as his most precious heirloom, saying: I have studied under learned professors in stately halls of learning, but as I look at that paddle I know that the teacher who laid the foundation of my understanding of my own people, and the Polynesian stock to which we belong, was a dear old lady with tattooed face in a humbled hut walled in with tree-fern slabs.
Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Te Rangi Hiroa  Download this message in PDF!



2 November 2009 - The Power of Three

Kotahi te kohao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero.
I muri, kia mau ki te aroha, ki te ture, ki te whakapono
Through the eye of the needle pass the white threads, the black threads, and the red threads.
Afterwards, looking to the past as you progress, hold firmly to your love, the law, and your faith

This whakatauki originated with Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Māori King, who, at the birth of the Kingitanga movement, spoke about how individual threads are weak, but the process of weaving three threads together makes for not only a strong fabric but they become beautiful, and tell a story.

In his signature song, Whakaaria Mai, the late Sir Howard Morrison, one of NZ's celebrated entertainers referred to the three great christian virtues of faith, hope and charity: I ngā iwi ma whakapono ma te tumanako me te aroha o ēnei taonga ko te mea nui ko te aroha.

The power of three is considered the highest connection to the source. Using the power of three is a connection to the highest level of spiritual advancement and acceptance that we all need to achieve when we come together. But, it can only be done by actual living and walking the path, not in words, but in action and deeds. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Potatau Te Wherowhero  Download this message in PDF!



26 October 2009 - Our Rangatahi are the future

Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi
When the old net is worn out and cast aside, the new net is put into use

In Malcolm Mulholland's award winning book about the history of Māori rugby entitled: Beneath the Māori Moon – An Illustrated History of Māori Rugby, he includes a quote from two Māori rugby legends – Waka Nathan and Buck Shelford – "The future of Māori rugby lies in our ability to govern, to coach, and to support our rangatahi in their dream to become the best that they can be".

We need to seize the opportunities now that will give our young people the support, the training, and the foothold in the door that they need to succeed whether it be sport, the arts, education or whatever. Our rangatahi need to feel inspired to make their dreams come true, no matter what their situation is. Nothing is impossible, anything can be achieved. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Buck Shelford  Download this message in PDF!



19 October 2009 - Coming together as one

E kore e taea e te whenu kotahi ki te raranga i te whāriki kia mōhio tātou ki ā tātou
Mā te mahi tahi ō ngā whenu, mā te mahi tahi ō ngā kairaranga, ka oti tēnei whāriki
A strand of flax is nothing in itself but woven together is strong and enduring
Collective efforts often result in more meaningful and sustainable outcomes

At last weekend's Māori Art Market in Porirua, reputed to be the largest assembly of Māori art by some of Aotearoa's leading and emerging Māori artists, Victoria University's Professor Piri Sciascia, and former Executive Director of Te Māori Exhibition which toured the US back in 1984, was moved to say: "The lessons we learn from such occasions are the collective strength of all Māori coming together, humbly standing as one and taking direction from their leaders, and the air of excellence in everything that transpires".

Art is a wonderful way to give full expression to one's identity. The experience one feels when observing the best of Máori art makes one swell with pride in being Máori. Working together as one, with exemplary leadership, aiming at excellence could be a successful formula for you too. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Piri Sciascia  Download this message in PDF!



12 October 2009 - In Tune with our Tupuna

E tipu e rea, mo ngā rā o tau ao;
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau ā te Pākehā, hei ara mō tō tinana,
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a o tipuna Māori, hei tikitiki mō tō mahunga,
Ā, ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nānā nei ngā mea katoa.
Grow up and thrive for the days destined to you.
Your hands to the tools of the Pākehā to provide physical sustenance,
Your heart to the treasures of your Māori ancestors, as a diadem for your brow,
Your soul to your God, to whom all things belong
Nā Tā Apirana Ngata kia Rangi Bennett (1949)

In a recent speech to the Midland Region Iwi Relationship Boards on 12 August 2009, former Tumuaki of Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Professor Whatarangi Winiata encouraged Board members to prepare for the inevitable changes that are ahead; to collaborate; co-operate and communicate with each other, stating, "we have not been here before - but we can and will succeed, if we remain true to the teachings of our tupuna, which remind us that the solutions reside within us".

Our tupuna are considered amongst the most important contributors to society, because they had the necessary wisdom and experience of this world, and through the transmission of oral tradition, they taught their people of morals, values and provided well-proven sage advice. Let's be constantly in tune with our tupuna, and listen to their healing whispers. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Whatarangi Winiata  Download this message in PDF!



5 October 2009 - Aim High

Kei roto i a koe tō ake mana. Whaia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei.
Within each of us lies a seed of potential. Seek that which you most desire. If you bow your head, be it only to a lofty mountain.
Set your sights high and never take a lesser path.

On 17 July 2009 President Barack Obama marked the centennial of the African-American civil rights group, NAACP, by calling on its leaders to tackle modern-day problems. Obama urged black parents to take responsibility for their children and encourage them to aspire to great

"That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour," he said. "It means attending those parent-teacher conferences, reading to our kids and helping them with their homework." He said it also means "looking after neighbors' children and setting higher goals". "They might think they've got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can't all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne", he said "I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be President of the United States" The US President's remarks are equally relevant for Māori living in Aotearoa, today. Kia pai tō wiki!

Tihei Mauriora - Barack Obama  Download this message in PDF!

© Te Kahui Amokura 2010