“Connecting with our roots”
Kia ora tatou katoa,
It is our hope that the majority of our future projects here in Australia will be self-sustainable wherever possible and view any possible external funding as a bonus. The key goals that we hope to achieve development in are as follows;
There are many facets to each of these goals and more time needs to be spent in delivering a business plan specific to each. However, our initial aim is to put some “flesh on the bones” of what may be possible and put this to Te Runanga 0 NgaiTakoto for consideration for potential funding.
We see this as the key to growing our understanding of who we are and where we come from. Unless we can identify who our beneficiaries are and what is it they want then our efforts will be wasted. The recent Waitangi Day Festival in Sydney gave us a vehicle to reach out to those Maori living in & around Sydney by hosting a stall encouraging any NgaiTakoto members to register to the iwi as well as purchase NgaiTakoto merchandise. What was noticeable was the hunger in “all” Maori residing here in Australia for a way to reconnect with their roots in Aotearoa. There were 8-10,000 people in attendance on the day and our stall was constantly busy answering questions & filling n registrations. It is obvious that our Maori people living here in Australia are looking for more information on their history & their kaupapa but do not know where to begin.
This is separate from education as this is what most of the Maori here in Australia cannot readily get access to. This is where we can help our people connect with who they are and where they have come from. There is a great hunger for tikanga Maori and there is a lack of resources, facilities and kaiako (teachers) to implement any programs We see an opportunity to help develop programs for all Maori, not just NgaiTakoto and this is where we are desperately under-resourced.
There has been a great desire for assistance in continued higher learning for those looking to further their education. This would need to be a sponsored program with any potential funds from Te Runanga 0 NgaiTakoto that may become available. Eligibility and delivery of any form of scholarship would go through appropriate vetting channels on a “case by case” basis. We may simply dovetail into the existing scholarships that exist in NZ. We would hope to introduce some form of recompense from any beneficiary who might receive such a scholarship which would benefit the iwi, preferably in trade or mentoring.
The obvious goal here is to involve as many of our iwi as possible. A formulated approach in spreading the message has already proved fruitful as registrations have grown rapidly. There is a greater number of NgaiTakoto here than people realise and the distance from Aotearoa has proven to be more of a benefit than a hindrance. The political, socio and economic landscape within the boundaries of NgaiTakoto is not an issue here in Australia as we are not living at home. All we are looking to do is reconnect & help move our iwi forward We hope to achieve growth in registrations by gathering names & email addresses
as this way we can direct information as needed We can do this in the following ways;
- Networking amongst our whanaunga
- Advertise hui in different major cities of Australia & present the latest information to our iwi
- Have stalls in different Maori community events in all Australian states
- Promote our website
- Social media campaigns
There are a number of NgaiTakoto iwi members here in Australia who have been involved with the resurgence of our iwi interests even before the recent Treaty Settlement Many have taken an active part in furthering these interests here in Australia & have consequently formed a preliminary committee. Ultimately this team will be decided by the beneficiaries here in Australia with our own Constitution & Charter. However, for now, we have taken it upon ourselves to kick start this process & make contact with Te Runanga 0 NgaiTakoto expressing our objectives. It will be necessary to have a team to drive many of the initiatives that we have in mind, such as those outlined in this paper. The fundamental operation of this team will require basic resources
- Resources to provide educational programs
- Resources to hold monthly meetings
- Travel expenses
- Multimedia expenses
- Resources to present the ultimate objectives of Te Iwi 0 NgaiTakoto around the country Resources to administer the IT
- Website maintenance
- Database management
- Resources to create information material
- Resources to procure merchandise
- Resources to promote NgaiTakoto in the greater community
Maori are the only major ethnic community in Australia we know of that does not have a cultural focal point of reference. The marae is the epicentre of our kaupapa and in Australia there are none yet we still continue on as best we can. Tangihanga are hold in homes, Te Reo classes are held in churches and kapa haka is practiced in scout halls.
“Our greatest wish is to have a marae for the people, built by the people “
We have recognised several opportunities in the past which typically have had the same recurring obstacles to overcome;
- Working with the local tangata whenua
- Identifying a suitable site
- Procuring sufficient finance
- Appeasing local, state & Federal government
- Enlist the support of the Maori community
These obstacles are not insurmountable but have typically been addressed individually and not as a whole. We are looking at an independent approach which will look to satisfy as many of these criteria before “going public” so as to minimise resistance when genuine opportunities present themselves. NgaiTakoto members are at the forefront of this initiative and the following support from Te Runanga 0 NgaiTakoto would be welcome;
- Greater collaboration with other iwi to help build a base of moral & financial support
- Trans-Tasman relationship building on national government & corporate levels
- Assistance in protocol for marae procurement of funds
Karakia and worship has always been an intrinsic part of NgaiTakoto life and it is fundamental to our iwi that we hold onto our spirituality both Maori and Christian in Australia and maintain the balance between the physical and spiritual realms
How we can do this;
- Support Anglican Maori Missions in Australia
- Joint Venture with Church of Te Wairua Tapu, Sydney
- Resources to provide educational programs
- Resources to produce and print our own literature
These are our fundamental objectives with a realistic understanding that we must start small & grow. Our aim is not to stand with hat in hand begging for a handout as many may believe. The fortunate thing with the recent settlement is that it has been a catalyst for awareness of who we are and the responsibility of being kaitiaki over our iwi settlement. In addition we realise the transition from government dependency to self-sufficiency puts
NgaiTakoto are in a strong position to make a real difference in Maori communities both here in Australia & back in Aotearoa. Our small iwi does very much personify the pioke in that regard and many of us here in Australia are looking to identify with our roots & reconnect to our marae. Money is simply the commodity to help further our iwi here in Australia. No one here believes that there will be a pot of gold for one & all to draw from. We understand we will have to earn our way but our way has become considerably clearer.
In conclusion, we in Australia realise that there is much to do to improve the lives of our iwi and we are committed to helping make it happen. We believe that NgaiTakoto are a humble but deliberate people and can lead the way here in Australia with many of the initiatives presented above. We have achieved a good deal already with the resources available to us now, as we have proven. We hope that any assistance granted will allow us to achieve greater things in the future that we can look back on from a humble position and quietly smile about our amazing achievements.
Na matou noa,
Te Iwi 0 NgaiTakoto Ahitereiria