Manurewa Local Board members are gearing up for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.
The board’s tikanga has te reo speaker Rangi McLean open and close meetings with karakia.
“Prayer is common to all cultures and conducting it in the language of tangata whenua is a small way to acknowledge our shared path as we make decisions for our rohe,” he says.
McLean serves on Tira Kapuia with board chair Joseph Allan, deputy Melissa Moore, member Anne Candy and Manurewa-Papakura Ward Councillor Angela Dalton, who holds the Maori Outcome portfolio at the governing body.
The ropu is tasked with guiding the board on achieving its Te Poari ā-Rohe o Mānurewa plan outcome recognising pride in the area’s Māori identity
“Ki te kotahi te kākaho, ka whati, ki te kāpuia e kore e whati – explains Tira Kapuia, meaning together we are stronger,” he says.
Allan says while members are looking forward to Māori Language Week, they strive to recognise the significance of mana whenua Māori in all decision-making.
“That means we ensure Māori heritage and storytelling are woven through local life, with te reo spoken and heard, and making sure Māori share in prosperity and decision-making.”
The board plans to incorporate more te reo in its meeting decisions. “That will see phrases such as whakāe, which means to approve or agree, appearing alongside māngai, delegating authority, and riro, receiving something, appear in our minutes,” Allan says.
He says the board has led the way in bilingual signage, with Tira Kapuia, and in Te Kete Rukuruku, adding Māori names to local play and historic spaces, and acknowledges Dalton’s leadership in those areas.
Cr Dalton says the diversity evident in the community is a strength for Manurewa. “We have built meaningful relationships with mana whenua and the role of places such as Manurewa Marae are critical to us, something we have seen the benefit of during COVID-19 restrictions.”
And board member Anne Candy has acknowledged the importance of the board joining with the governing body in endorsing Te Whakaoranga o te Puhinui,a charter setting out principles and aspirations to support renewal projects across the Puhinui catchment.
“That would not have been possible without the leadership and generosity of spirit of Waiohua Iwi - Ngāti Te Ata, Ngāti Tamaoho and Te Ākitai.”
Deputy Chair Melissa Moore says including Māori voices can lead to unique outcomes.
“At the new Wiri playground, Māori play specialist Harko Brown included māra hūpara concepts, ways Māori used to develop skills in children. I hear people talking about māra hūpara today, when not long ago they might never have used the phrase.”
Meanwhile Allan says he’s brushing up on an important question.
“I’ll be asking, mā wai e tautoko ana? Who supports the resolution? I expect to hear a chorus of members responding āe, yes, and hopefully not too many kāo – no.”
Ideas to participate in Te Wiki o te Reo Māori from 13-19 September are here.