Interview with Johnnie Freeland

Last Updated : 29 Sep 2015
Interview with Johnnie Freeland

The rich Māori heritage of Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland is a source of great pride for its people. Mana whenua, the indigenous Māori population, have lived in the region for many hundreds of years.

Te Waka Angamua – Auckland Council’s Māori Strategy and Relations department – advises and provides support to the council to help foster positive outcomes with Māori. As Matariki approaches, Johnnie Freeland, Manager of Te Waka Angamua, explains more about the department’s role and some of the projects and events it has been involved in recently.

Moving forward together

"The name Te Waka Angamua means ‘the canoe moving forward together’ – it also acknowledges the past: ‘Me titiro whakamuri kia anga whakamua – we must look from whence we came to advance forward’.

Our common purpose is ‘he pītau whakareia, wawāhi ngaru, whāia tōna au – navigating and influencing better outcomes for Māori’.

One of the key ways we do this is by working directly with mana whenua and Māori communities to strengthen their capacity to work more effectively with the council.

We also support and guide our elected members in their own relationships with Māori.

Working in partnership with Māori

The way that Auckland Council engages with Māori and responds to the needs Māori face is of huge importance to the vision of Auckland Council: te pai me te whai rawa o Tāmaki, to become the world’s most liveable city.

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan is a great example of this, with Māori considered as key partners across the Sea Change Project – Tai Timu Tai Pari.

The collaborative co-partnering structure of the project and the Stakeholder Working Group membership ensures mana whenua are involved and that mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) is valued and incorporated into the process.

Celebrating Māori heritage and culture

On behalf of the council, Te Waka Angamua is a key supporter of the mana whenua-driven, Tāmaki Herenga Waka Trust.

The trust has been established to support mana whenua and mataawaka (Māori from tribes outside of Auckland) across the Tāmaki Makaurau region in the revitalisation of a vibrant waka culture.

Recently, we were involved in the official welcome and farewell for a fleet of Polynesian voyaging canoes – an opportunity to acknowledge the renaissance of the sailing waka traditions for both Māori and Pacific peoples.

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