Tihei Mauriora was a Monday motivational email message that was inspired by modern day Māori leaders reflecting on past teachings from our tupuna.
The motivational messages shown below have now been compiled into a motivational flipchart. If you would like a copy, please contact Taniya Ward by email at T.M.Ward@massey.ac.nz.
I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho!
A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions
Te Kawerau a Maki matriarch Hariata Ewe (1920-2009) also affectionately known as Aunty Sally was responsible for some of the great changes in Māoridom and was pivotal to tribal transformation. Hariata was a foundation member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Her leadership was humble and supportive, using intuition and empathy before argument and confrontation.
How do you go into a difficult situation? Often we get offended by what is said and get caught up in the emotion of only thinking about how we feel and not looking at the situation in front of us. Only when you are able to take yourself out of the situation, are you able to look at it from a different perspective and be more receptive to what others have to say; although you don’t always have to agree, you will be able to see why they have come up with the decision they have. Don’t always be so eager to jump in and be defensive, but have some humility and empathy in your dealings to be able to make decisions with a clear and open mind. Kia pai tō wiki!
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He tangata kōrero whenua!
Sir Archie John Te Atawhai Taiaroa (1937-2010), of Te Āti Haunui-ā-Pāpārangi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa, was hugely influential in Māoridom. Born at Tawata on the Whanganui River, his early career saw him serve as a Māori welfare officer, and also as a councillor and deputy mayor in local government. He led Whanganui iwi negotiations with the Crown over the Whanganui River and lands, and was appointed to the board of Te Ohu Kaimoana in 1993, and remained there until his death. He became recognised as a peacemaker during the debates over the Māori commercial fisheries settlement, and encouraged the recognition of freshwater rights for iwi. He was a co-convenor of Māori Congress, a trusted advisor to Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, and was a negotiator and peacemaker between the Crown and wider Māoridom on issues affecting all New Zealand.
How do we encourage peacemaking, in these troubled and uncertain times? We have to start within ourselves. Peace of mind is a state of tranquility and inner calmness, a sense of freedom from worries and fear. Simple things, such as not taking everything too personally, and forgiving others – can bring about a state of inner peace. If we can harness inner peace, then this will ultimately lead to peace around us, from which our relationships with whãnau, friends and colleagues can benefit. Take the time to reflect on yourself, your inner peace, and the peace and aroha you can offer others. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Whāia te māramatanga, me te aroha, e ngā iwi!
Seek after knowledge and fellowship all people
Canon Wi Te Tau Huata QSO (1917–1991) of Ngāti Kahungunu, Anglican priest and renown military chaplain once said of his ‘boys of the Māori Battalion’ “when these boys fight, they do fight. Then when the scrap is over they talk about the days of peace. It is just like a fine day after a storm”. Courageously accepting an invitation to speak at an Afrika Corps reunion in Germany after the war, he – on behalf of the Battalion, was paid a huge tribute “your greatness is not only in battle but also in your hearts by accepting our invitation of goodwill. You are the peacemakers”.
What challenges you to succeed as a leader where others have failed? Being a peacemaker is a growing experience. For Canon Wi Huata it was about being conciliatory and pragmatic; displaying tact and diplomacy; bringing unfinished business to an amicable resolution and thereby ensuring the lives of future generations are better. We need to confront our fears, our challenges, and our weaknesses. We meet these things head-on, and in so doing, we master them. It is a never-ending quest to better our best, constantly improve, and practice what we preach. Let us become more resolute, and more worthy of success in our daily endeavours. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Kia tū, kia māia
Seize the day
During the tempestuous 1970s, Tainui’s Eva Rickard rose to prominence as a tireless campaigner and political activist for Māori land rights, an ardent advocate for Māori women, and founder of the Mana Māori political party. Drawing inspiration from whānau, Eva said “I learnt from my mother how to stand strong in times of change”. That knowledge sustained her through a difficult period in New Zealand’s history during which she was often criticised, but she had the strength to stand her ground when adversity hit, and the courage to speak her mind.
When faced with difficult circumstances, why do some people falter and spiral towards self-destruction while others survive and even thrive once the storm has passed? No one is immune to adversity, but some people seem to be better able to cope with the pressure and recover from even the most strenuous conditions. Success for Eva was not so much measured by what she did (e.g., reclaiming ancestral land at Raglan), but by the opposition she encountered, and her resilience and courage to maintain the struggle against all odds; and for this she stands as a role model for all of us. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ko Tongariro te maunga, Ko Taupō-nui-a-Tia te moana,
Ko Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi, Ko Te Heuheu te tangata
Tongariro is the mountain, Taupō is the lake,
Tūwharetoa are the people, Te Heuheu is the man
Sir Hepi Te Heuheu (1919-1997), 7th paramount chief of Ngāti Tuwharetoa, an ardent advocate of racial harmony and bringing people together often said, "We must keep talking". His quiet and unassuming effectiveness, rather than bluster and show, epitomised his mana and style of leadership; to encourage and empower others to be decision makers, while keeping his own position in reserve for crises and impasses.
Whenever two people meet and associate together, you've got a ‘relationship’. The more you get to know about someone, the more you begin to understand them. The key to a successful relationship is common courtesy, and being respectful. Some people like to throw their weight around, demanding, pushing, and even complaining, it just doesn’t work; and it seems it’s not the Tuwharetoa way either. We should accept others, as much as possible, if we want to develop a relationship with them. We may not agree with them or accept everything they do but we should accept enough of that person to include some part of them into our lives, and for what they contribute to you. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ka whakarērea te puha, ka whai ki te matariki
Inferior toetoe is discarded while that of high quality is sought after.
Ngai Tahu’s Ben Couch (1925 –1996), was an All Black in the 1940s and a Member of Parliament from 1975-1984. Couch's own rugby career had been affected by apartheid policies somewhat optimistically argued as Minister of Police that rugby contact with NZ during the 1981 Springbok tour could promote change for the better in South Africa. Perhaps lacking the guile and sophistication of other politicians ‘Honest Ben’ as he was affectionately known as said “if you believe something is true, you just do what is right and let the consequences follow; one thing I have been taught is to be honest with myself and with others”.
"This above all, to thine own self be true” said Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It means to first know yourself, who you are, why you behave, act, speak and react in the way you do. Despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune' that may oppress you – the falsehoods, deceptions, cheats, lies - don't be a phony and act different in front of other people. Do what you know is the right thing at all times. You have to live with yourself. So you should be proud of who that person is. Keep a healthy conscience. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Whakarua i te hau e taea te karo; whakarua i te mate tē taea te karo
From nature's storms one may find shelter; from the storms of life there is no shelter.
Referred to as a ‘leader of men’ by his league team-mates, Puti Tipene (Steve) Watene (1910–1967) of Ngāti Maru and Te Arawa, was the first Māori to captain the NZ Rugby League side, and a Member of Parliament, representing Eastern Māori from 1963-1967. The former welfare officer whose election to become a MP broke the Ratana stranglehold on the Māori seats reminded many of the people he played with and helped, of Oscar Hammerstein’s song “you’ll never walk alone”. He encouraged them to learn how to ride out successfully the fury of the storms of disappointments and failures that must come in life, but then to be ready to bask in the sunshine that is just as sure to follow.
Life has frequently been thought of in terms of a stormy journey. Everyone feels alone and beaten upon at sometime or other. Learn to emerge from each mauling with increased vigor and enthusiasm – there’s always a silver lining. When life gives us an occasional ‘kick in the pants’ it is meant to keep you on your toes and get you ready for accomplishments. You can pretty well judge a person by how they handle the storms in life. Keep your head up high; and don’t be afraid, you’re never alone. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Waikato taniwharau, he piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha
Waikato of a hundred bends and on every bend a chief
During her forty year reign as the sixth and longest serving Māori monarch, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu of Tainui, exemplified the kingitanga’s resilience and place in New Zealand society. Hers was a caring and benevolent nature, and she moved easily among people at all levels, while her wisdom, astute thinking and clear vision established her as an unparalleled unifying force for Māori. One of her legacies was urging her people to constantly “pursue quality and excellence in everything you do”.
We never will achieve success when we refuse to take responsibility for the quality of the things we say and do - our success in life is too tightly bound to whatever that may be. Sometimes we go through life where "good enough" is all that's expected. Get into the habit of requiring excellence from yourself - first. Don’t settle for less. Ask yourself ‘Is this the right way to do this? Is this the best way to do that?’ Then, make a habit of giving quality service to others, and in so doing you will find excellence in your life in whatever you undertake. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E kore e taea te aukati i a koe!
There’s no stopping you!
Willie Apiata, of Ngāpuhi, a corporal in the Special Air Service (SAS), is the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand for bravery during the Afghanistan war in 2004 after carrying a gravely wounded comrade across a battlefield, under fire, to safety. Asked about SAS training, having failed at his first attempt to join the elite force, the reluctant hero said, “It’s about how much you want it, how determined you are physically and mentally. Prepare your body, mind and soul and nothing will stop you”.
Often times we fail to reach our goals not because we don’t have what it takes, but rather we don’t care enough about them to start with. We mistakenly think that because we ‘should’ be a certain way that it is a valid and worthy goal. At the deepest level of your being you have to be willing to see your goal through. Anything short of that and you’re simply setting yourself up for disappointment. What matters is the decision you make in your head. Chase what excites you, not what holds you back. The only thing separating you from the success that you earnestly desire is the degree to which you want it. How badly do you want it? Are you sure? Kia pai tō wiki!
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E kore tana pūweru e mākū i te pata ua!
A shower of rain cannot wet her garment;
She’s a woman above average, not easily upset by problems
Once the Gestapo’s most wanted woman, Nancy Wake (1912-2011), the brave World War II heroine and French resistance leader upon witnessing first-hand Jews being whipped by Nazis’ thought at the time, I don’t know what I’ll do about it, but if I can do anything one day, I’ll do it. The journalist, and great-granddaughter of a Ngāpuhi woman, Pourewa, was code-named the ‘white mouse’ for her ability to elude capture in spite of immense odds. Hers is an amazing story of courage, defiance and optimism that still inspires decades after it was played out, just as she was an inspiration to the many men and women she led and saved.
If you are not motivated, inspired and challenged in your daily life you run the risk of not reaching your full potential. Let’s learn from Nancy Wake’s I’ll do it attitude. In so doing, you too will live a full life, and well on the way to being successful in everything you do. First, set your goals, be positive, walk the talk, and surround yourself with like-minded support – and stick at it. In the end, it’s up to you to decide that you can do it, and of course you will. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Māu anō e rapu he oranga
Your livelihood in your own hands
Many Māori professionals cannot be leaders of people - except by example, as their work often removes them from close contact with the everyday problems and aspirations of ordinary Māori. Not so, Dr Manahi Nitama Paewai (1920-1990) of Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu. The exceptionally talented former Māori All Black, innovative Kaikohe-based medical practitioner, and outspoken local politician and community leader once said “Māori must be taught as the Pākehā has already learnt that he has to work for what he gets”. ‘Doc’ as he was affectionately called, being a devout Mormon, was critical of the welfare state and ‘handouts’ because in his view it just discouraged work and thrift.
It’s true though, thrift and industry always go hand in hand. These virtues are worth culturing. They make us as whānau and individuals strong and independent. What we sow, we in turn will reap, or in other words nothing is ever denied to well-directed work, and nothing is ever achieved without it. This is why it is so important to focus on inputs and outputs as a person. You get out of life what you put into it. Who can argue with such logic? Indeed, it is what life is all about, and it applies to our individual and personal lifestyles. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Te Ati-awa o runga o te rangi
Te Ati-Awa descended from the sky
(Tamarau-te-heketanga-a-rangi, the ancestor of Ati-Awa, first saw the attractive, uncovered Rongoue-roa, bathing her child in a stream. Tamarau approached her, but Rongo did not see him at first until she noticed his reflection in the water. She looked around to enquire only for the bold Tamarau to move forward and embrace her. Afterwards, Tamarau suggested that should she give birth to a son, she was to name him “Te Awa-nui-a-Rangi”, after that stream at which he had landed after his descent from heaven. Hence the origin of the saying “Te Ati-Awa descended from the sky or heaven” – or Te Atiawa, the sons and daughters of Heaven)
Sir Paul Reeves ONZ, Anglican Archbishop and New Zealand’s first Māori Governor-General, aimed to bring people together, to listen to people at the edges and to speak out on social issues, where appropriate. Never satisfied with the status quo or shying away from controversy, the great leader, statesman, and role-model was of the view that ‘society should be driven not by economists but by people who understand pluralistic, multicultural society’.
Valuing diversity is a critical competency for leadership in today’s society. It’s more than tolerating differences, it’s about recognizing the benefits of those differences, building trusting and sustainable relationships, and acknowledging others’ valuable contributions to society. Sir Paul understood that well and with his keen sense of social justice and goodwill to all men and women, worked assiduously towards that end in all his varied endeavours. That, and being an exemplar for church, Mãori, education and community, was his lasting legacy for us all to emulate, so that the futures of our tamariki and mokopuna are assured. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Aroha ki te tangata
Having respect for others
The recipient of this year’s Prime Minister’s Supreme Award 2011 for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching in a kaupapa Māori context, Auckland University’s Professor Michael Walker of Whakatohea, has been spectacularly successful in creating pathways for Māori learners to succeed in science. A biological scientist, Professor Walker continues a whānau legacy of academic excellence and as one former learner said, he’s a true Rangatira, a humble, empowering visionary deriving satisfaction from the success of others.
How can we cultivate the habit of looking for the best in the people we meet each day? If you don't believe in yourself, you're going to fight an uphill battle to get others to believe in you. Look for what you can learn from a person - how you can genuinely help them. Be positive towards people. Expect the best from others - you'll quite often get it. We should always look for the best in other people, and in ourselves. Work to make yourself better, and then after you've achieved your goals, give yourself a pat on the back and move on to the next area of growth. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Taku rākau ka hē ki te marahea
My weapon erred in the worst way
Former Māori Womens Welfare President, and Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Erihapeti Murchie-Rehu, of Kai Tahu, Kāti Mamoe and Ngāti Raukawa, said we must resist the temptation to be "lulled into a false sense of security, being firmly persuaded that social welfare agencies will cover our mistakes, our ills, and that the government has the ‘kiss’ of life to rectify our indiscretions". Many of the problems relating to social breakdown could be solved by people taking responsibility for their own actions, and that of their own whānau – and learning from it!
When you make a mistake you have to realize the wrong. You take your knocks, you dust yourself off, and then you move on. It makes you think about the importance of taking responsibility for the things that go wrong in life. It’s normal for people to want to distance themselves from their errors, but there’s a lot to be said for ‘owning up’ to a mistake, and taking your punishment. Don’t make a bigger mistake by not taking responsibility. Don’t cover up your own inadequacies. Confront them, fix them, now – and then move on. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E aī ō harirau, hei rere mai
You have the wings to fly – if you really try
The former National President of the Māori Womens Welfare League, Dame Georgina Kirby QSO, who made a name for herself as a Māori business, arts and fashion development advocate, social entrepreneur, and founder of Māori Women's Development Incorporated, always encouraged business people to follow their passion. The suggestion is that by having a lively, sustained interest in your work, and being enthused and excited in what you do, will increase the likelihood of real success in the long term.
It’s about knowing that you are capable of accomplishing something. You may have never done it before, but you know deep down you can do it. In order to succeed well, it is essential you believe in yourself and the ‘cause’ – with fervor. If you are going to achieve the success that you are capable of, you have to become passionate about your capabilities and have the right attitude. You can acquire that passion, just by constantly working at it, practice makes perfect. Then use it, wisely and well, and leverage off the power that it brings into your life, and the lives of those around you. Make your life worthwhile, live with, and follow, your passion. Kia pai tō wiki!
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He aha te huarahi? I runga i te tika, te pono me te aroha
What is the pathway? It is doing what is right, with integrity and compassion
Areta Koopu CBE of Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Kanohi, Aitanga-a-Hauiti, a past National President of the Māori Women's Welfare League, former human rights commissioner, current Waitangi Tribunal member and staunch advocate against child abuse recently reflected on how precious our tamariki and mokopuna are, saying, we need to show that some of us do it properly – some of us get it right.
You know it really doesn’t take any more time to get it right the first time than it does to getting it wrong. Let’s make certain we choose to do things right – the first time. One of the great adventures of life is finding that right path, and making the most of our contributions, so we can make a difference in our own lives, and the lives of others. If you're not on the right path, turn around and get back on track. If you are, press ahead. If you don't know if you're on the right path, stop, evaluate your position, seek guidance and get yourself into gear and head towards your goals by choosing the right path to follow with integrity and compassion. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Te kuku o te manawa
The pincers of the heart, an object of great affection
Rangi Topeora, of Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa, was born at Kawhia early in the nineteenth century, the niece of the great Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha, and a sister of the warrior leader Te Rangihaeata. One of an estimated five to thirteen women to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, she remained an important leader figure among her people, a notable orator, famous composer of waiata and a woman of great strength. A beautiful self-portrait is contained in one of her waiata: e hira hoki au, i aku túmanako, e kai nei te aroha – a notorious one, indeed, am I, because of my heart's desires, and so utterly consumed with love.
But for some reason, when the sun is shining in our lives, we rarely notice it. Indeed, most of us rarely appreciate a sunny day until we are confronted with a dreary one. There are those incredible individuals who give every relationship its due, love everyone as fully as they can be loved, treat each opportunity as the rare item that it is; they love deeply, live happily, and spread goodness and joy wherever they go. It is true, if we love one another, by this shall we be known - if we have love one to another. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ka noho mataku, ka riro te tangata
The person who is afraid of something gives it power over them
Wi Pere (1837-1915) of Kahungunu, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Rongowhakaata was an outstanding leader amongst the Poverty Bay and East Cape Māori during the turbulent transition period around the turn of the 19th century. It was as a Member of the Legislative Council that the former Eastern Māori MP and champion of his people is best remembered for confidently asserting his right to speak. When speaking in Parliament to a motion of regret at the passing of a fellow parliamentarian, the fearless Pere said, “if members are annoyed at the length of my remarks let them keep it inside and not show it. I will not be stopped. If I want to speak, I will speak. I will be heard though there is the lot of you against me. I am not afraid”.
Fear is perhaps the greatest stumbling block to achieving success; but many of us do not flee from fear...we embrace it. Are you afraid of doing something? Do you let your fear of the unknown alter your course? Are you afraid of failure, or success? Fear prevents us from taking ownership of a situation. We fear ridicule; we fear loneliness; we fear new situations; we fear being stuck in old situations. To those who fear, and that's too many of us, learn from Wi Pere’s example - there is only one antidote: action. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E kimi ana i ngā kāwai i toro ki tawhiti
Seeking the shoots that stretch far out - (someone seeking to establish relationships)
Sir Eddie Taihakurei Durie, KNZM, of Ngãti Kauwhata and Ngāti Raukawa, was the first Māori appointed as a Justice of the High Court of New Zealand, and was also Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court, Chairman of the Waitangi Tribunal, and Law Commissioner. As an expert of the Treaty of Waitangi the eminent jurist spoke often about the importance of building relationships and the main Treaty message for our time – that good order, peace and co-operation between peoples must continue to depend upon the manifestation of respect and goodwill between them.
Our lives are defined by the relationships we keep. Whenever two people meet and associate together, you've got a "relationship”. Finding, developing, and maintaining sound, lasting relationships is sometimes a pretty tricky dance but it can work to your advantage in the long run. It isn’t something that just happens – it’s something you work on. It’s about treating the “other’” as the most important person in your world. So, in order to keep a good relationship, we have to practice win-win in all we do – we have to give more value than we get in return. As Sir Eddie attests, respect and goodwill are two powerful, positive steps to building the type of relationship we all need. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tōu ao; ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā hei ora mō tō tinana; ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga, ā ko tō wairua ki te Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.
Grow up and thrive for the days destined to you. Your hand to the tools of the Pākehā to provide physical sustenance, your heart to the treasures of your ancestors as a diadem for your brow, your spirit to your God, to whom all things belong
Tā Apirana Ngata (1874-1950), Ngāti Porou leader, lawyer and scholar, was undoubtedly the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament. Throughout his life Ngata had one goal – to uplift the Māori race spiritually, culturally, and economically (Encyclopedia of NZ, 1966). As a leader he was well equipped by temperament, a magnetic personality and education to wrestle with the many problems that confronted him. In Parliament and as a professional, rarely has the Māori point of view been more forcibly expressed even to this day.
There are many lessons we can learn from this great New Zealander. One is that we will always keep what we think, say, do positive and uplifting. Can you name the people who have inspired or enriched your life? Each day, we are impacted by the people we meet – and they are impacted by us. Moreover, our own lives are influenced by little things that we do, little choices that we make. Let’s work to make that impact uplifting in the lives of others and in our own lives as well. In that way you just might find the big things you do, and the big choices you make will take care of themselves. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E kore te tino tangata e ngaro i roto i te tokomaha
A great man cannot be hidden in a crowd
Known as the pre-eminent Māori broadcaster of his generation Derek Tini Fox of Ngāti Porou when recently answering a MANU AO Seminar question about Māori language programming on Māori media said “when we do things our way, we are at our best”.
How many of us are the absolute best we can be? Sadly, many of us are happy enough with a shadow of what we could accomplish, and content to do just enough to get by. When you get right down to it, pushing ourselves further than we ever realized we could go is the only way to make real progress. We should always strive to become better, wiser, happier. Never settle for less than your best. Each day you should be better than the day before. In fact, try this - each day work to be better than you have ever been in your life. If you're not currently better than you ever have been, you've got a bit of work to do. Having said that: we are all ‘works in progress’. Expect the best - and find it. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Me anga atu ngā kanohi rā ki ngā maunga kei reira te āwhina
Let the direction of all faces be towards the mountains where all things are cherished
Sir Kingi Ihaka, Archdeacon of Ngāti Kahu devoted his life to working for Māori people through the Anglican ministry, as a licensed interpreter and translator, a Māori language commissioner, and founding member of many cultural groups and choirs. His immensely popular 1965 composition Nau mai! Piki mai! constantly reminds us that it's so good, so pleasant for all to think as one.
There’s an old saying; I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. What I can do I ought to do, and what I ought to do by the grace of God I will do! It takes one smile to start a friendship, one kind word to make someone’s day, one step to begin a journey, one voice to speak up for what is right, and one life to make a difference. Let's hope we all can make a positive difference in the lives of people we meet. Of course you can do it. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Toko rangatiratanga na te mana-matauranga
Knowledge and power set me free
Last week Emeritus Professor Tamati Reedy of Ngāti Porou was conferred the honour of a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education at Hiruhārama Pā, Ruatoria. Sir Tamati had recently led Te Paepae Motuhake, reviewing the Māori language sector and strategy, and had earlier boldly stated that it was his personal opinion Māori language ought to be compulsory in New Zealand schools.
A forthright statement by any stretch of the imagination, but well-foundered and supported by others as being achievable, in time. We should never shy away from the great challenges that crop up in our lives from time to time. Make yourself better - this is the best way. The people who do this are those who never give up, and realize that time and tenacity always works in your favor. Most seemingly ‘impossible’ things are really possible. Know the true value of time; grab it; learn from it; bask in the journey, and enjoy the fruits of your labours. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Tāku kupu i whakaheia ki runga o Māramarama-te-rangi
My word fulfilled in broad daylight
Dr Turoa Royal QSO of Ngãti Raukawa has a reputation as an outstanding educator and innovator in Mãori and indigenous education circles. He said, there are many challenges facing Mãori society today and Mãoridom requires a greater depth in leadership and a greater astuteness, commitment, energy and vision in handling the issues of today and tomorrow. Whether the challenges include fulfilment of Treaty obligations, tino rangatiratanga, language and cultural revival, constitutional change, or economic advancement it requires of our leaders to act with utmost integrity, good judgement and wisdom.
There are probably those people who are born with the inherent ability to make the right decision, each and every time. Most of us, however, require a bit of learning and wisdom before we are considered to be a shrewd or astute leader. For most of us it comes about after making a lot of other choices, some of them wrong and some of them right. When your path seems a little wayward, briefly pause and think of the challenges you've had in the past - and then draw on your past experiences and successes to fuel your future accomplishments. Kia pai tõ wiki!
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E taru ana i tāku
It will be done; it’s my garden
The Ministry of Health’s former Chief Advisor (Māori Health) Dr Tony Ruakere of Te Atiawa is one of our most experienced and skilled medical practitioners; extensively involved in Māori health development and with a life-time of community service behind him. Dr Ruakere humbly walks in the footsteps of his kaumatua, yet looks to youth for the future, using Māori role models to inspire another generation to even greater heights. The people, he says, have to accept the responsibility of moving forward by doing it themselves. Being passive won’t work. The fire needs to burn deep in us all.
True leaders take responsibility for their actions, and there’s no limit to the good you can do. But, many of us don't take care of ourselves where success is concerned. Altogether too often, we leave that responsibility to other people. It's high time we took responsibility for our own success. We can do it. It may take a little bit of education, or a bit of practice, but sooner or later, we’ll get there. It doesn't matter who you are, or where you’ve come from. What matters is where you’re going. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Titiro ki muri, kia whakatika ā mua
Look to the past to proceed to the future
Naida Glavish first came to public attention in 1984 when as a tolls operator she was ordered to stop answering the phone with a cheery “kia ora” and use only English when talking to customers. This incident marked a sea change in NZ race relations and set Naida on the road to public service leadership in education and health, becoming chairwoman of Ngāti Whatua’s runanga, and receiving a New Year’s honour as an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit. The world, she says, desperately needs a new way forward to survive the major challenges of our times. Perhaps the answers lie in our adherence to those proven, powerful concepts of mana, manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga - used for living successfully by our people for thousands of years.
As we look back at times in our lives and see what we've accomplished it’s only been when we've had a goal, a destination, and a plan, and worked surely in the direction of that goal, that progress has been made. No matter how scary your future may appear, well-grounded values and a consistently positive outlook will help you find your way through whatever life may throw your way. Kia pai tō wiki!
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E haere ana tē pōporoihewa, e noho ana te kiore
‘Although the whitehead flees, the rat remains’
Meaning that it is better to follow the example of the whitehead and move away from trouble
Foundation chairperson for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and current Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Professor Graham Smith is a prominent Māori educationalist and advocate who has been at the forefront of alternative Māori education initiatives for many years. At last week’s MANU AO seminar on transforming education he warned against being sidetracked by commentary on the ‘long brown line’ of Māori under-achievement: “It’s the politics of distraction - we’ve got to be focused on what it is that we are confident about, what we can control, what’s in our hands, and keep moving forward”.
In order to attain everything we need in our lives, we need to have focus. We should choose the way we want our life to look, what areas are in focus, and which parts are highlighted. By focusing on the important areas we give them clarity. At the same time, by choosing what to sharpen, we choose to diminish or discard out the areas we can’t control, so they’re not distracting to us. This is the way life needs to be. Believe in your abilities, your dreams, your wants, your desires. Believe you are able to achieve, and you will. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi
Without foresight or vision the people will be lost
Last week’s successful Kingitanga Day, a celebration of the relationship between Waikato University and the Kingitanga, reminded me of King Tuheitia’s simple message to his people in his maiden speech: think globally to achieve locally. There’s the expectation that a leader like the Māori King, following a line of six monarchies stretching back to 1858, is imbued with something special – the ability to see the ‘big picture’, what course to take, what actions to follow, and what decisions to make at the local level. Because life is a journey, the ability to determine our destination is paramount, and determining the correct destination takes vision.
There are those people who are born with the inherent ability to make the right decision – each and every time. However, most of us require a bit of learning and wisdom before we are fit to declare that we have ‘vision’. Learning and wisdom comes about after making a lot of other choices, some of them wrong and some of them right. This then, is the greatest lesson learnt from those who change the world - they have a vision, and they persist until that vision is reached. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ko te pipi te tuatahi, ko te kaunuku te tuarua
A small wedge is used first, followed by a larger one
(The process by which a small group gains strength and grows to the point at which it can challenge the previously dominant force)
Prominent Te Rarawa leader Whina Cooper, the first president of the Māori Womens Welfare League, who as an 80 year old led the famous land march from Te Hapua to Parliament in 1975 to protest ongoing loss of Māori land. When she was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1980, she stated: “They didn't understand that I'd have more power when I'd been invested, more power to fight for them and for all the Māori people against the government”.
The quest for power begins with gaining power over ourselves. From Dame Whina’s leadership of the land march we learn that we gain power by concentrating all our efforts on a particular goal; having faith in ourselves to achieve that goal; and finally, refusing to give up. Just as Whina determined her course before setting off from Te Hapua, and then made corrections along the way to Wellington. Each of us has the ability to set and then chart our own course, and reach our destination in time. There may be hiccups along the way, but when we're in control, we can choose to steer around them. We all have the power to plan our lives, including you too! Kia pai tō wiki!
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He rei ngā niho, he paraoa ngā kauae
To have a whale's tooth, you must have also a whale's jaw
(meaning ; one must have the right qualifications for great enterprises)
It is a myth, according to Ngāti Porou’s runanga chair, Dr Apirana Mahuika, that ambition was not a common attribute. Leadership roles were not always pre-ordained nor non-competitive. He says that ambition was certainly a variable in the politics of leadership. Ambition is a quality valued in many of our Māori leaders; and, those who have it often inspire others with their sheer drive, confidence and energy.
Steer clear of people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small-minded people do that, but a great leader makes you feel that you, too, can become great. What is wrong with aiming to be great? Maybe it’s that desire to make the world a better place for us and our posterity to live in. Our improvement doesn't need to be extraordinary though. It can be just a step up, a little bit at a time, and yet we should strive to end each day a little bit better than we were the day before. It’s in us to become better each day and make our lives a healthier, sweeter experience. Kia pai tō wiki!
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Pihi kau ake te whakaaro pai, hauhake tonu iho
When a good thought springs up, it is harvested
Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa), one of our foremost broadcasters who worked as an independent reporter, writer, director, producer and executive producer, once remarked, “It is the Mãori creative spirit that we need to protect and nurture most of all. We exist because of our ideas and our imagination”.
There’s one thing that we share in common – we all have the ability to determine our ultimate, best. Do you really know what you are capable of? Do you have any idea what you could do if you set your mind to it? Maybe the key is in thinking big, realizing that with a bit of that creative spirit and imagination, we can make ourselves better and open up new galaxies of opportunity to our eyes. Each new experience brings new understanding. Each task mastered brings more ideas and fires our imagination to greater heights. When we undertake that journey, and reach its conclusion we will have the ability to affect ourselves and those around us in a manner that will open up new roads, new quests, new opportunities, and new possibilities. Kia pai tõ wiki!
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He ringa whiti
A hand for sudden action
Some years ago at Hinerupe marae in Te Araroa, East Coast one of the manuhiri greeted local kaumatua Koro Dewes saying “Kei te pehea koe?” to which he instantly replied “E ta, you’re in ‘kei te aha country’ now!” It’s all about being a people of action - making things happen. Like his tipuna, the pioneering Ngāti Porou historian and academic inspired commitment and dedication to Māori issues among a generation of younger leaders, willingly heeding his call to action.
Action-oriented people concentrate on the here and now; they see the best side of others; they know where they are going; they work to make the world better; they take responsibility for their deeds; and they do not give up. We all know the importance of keeping a positive outlook. At least as important as keeping a positive frame of mind is to take positive action. Can you make your life bold, vibrant, and creative? Of course you can. How can you gather momentum that is enough to overcome the inertia in your life? Just take positive action, despite what troubles and obstacles land in your way. Kia pai tō wiki!
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He tangata kī tahi
A person of a single word
Hon. Georgina te Heuheu QSO, the first Māori woman to gain a law degree from the University of Victoria and be admitted to the High Court as Barrister and Solicitor, went on to practice law in Wellington and Rotorua before entering parliament as a National Party MP. It is of no surprise that the former Waitangi Tribunal member and current Minister for Courts expressed an interest in “models of leadership that place high priority on integrity".
Are you always above board, and honest in your dealings with people? I'm sure you are, because it’s good business, character-enhancing, and right. Our world is a smaller place than you think it is. People know you, watch you, and imitate you. Like Georgina, make your name something to be proud of – and reputation something to remember. It’s never been more important that each of us keep our level of integrity high. It’s essential in whatever you do and say. We are only as good a person as our actions. Therefore, let your actions today and in the future be great! Kia pai tō wiki!
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Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini
My strength is not that of the individual, but that of the multitude
Over the past fortnight we have witnessed another more devastating earthquake in Otautahi; this time claiming many lives. Ngai Tahu leader Mark Solomon, representing mana whenua, has been the ‘face’ of the huge rescue and recovery effort for Mãori, in partnership with other community leaders. His humility and calm leadership has to be admired where at every opportunity he has applauded the efforts of everyone working together no better illustrated than from a simple yet moving statement by maata waka head, Norm Dewes of Ngãti Porou - “This is not about you, nor me; it’s about us”.
It is during times of adversity that we all come together, and we see the best of human qualities come to the fore as our leaders rely on the well-proven values of rangatiratanga, manaakitanga, kotahitanga and whãnaungatanga. It shows us one very important lesson: we are not built to give in to adversity, we are built to rise above it - together. Indeed, it is through the common courage of all of us – holding hands in the dark – that we find the faith and hope we need for tomorrow. Kia pai tõ wiki!
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