Celebrating Māori Educational Success

E mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou. I te tuatahi ka mihi ki te marae o Waipapa, me ngā whare e tū motuhake ana,  arā ko Tānenuiārangi te whare tupuna, ko Reipai te wharekai. Tēnā korua ngā whare manaaki tangata.

E rere kau ana taku mihi ki a rātou mā kua haere ki tua o te ārai, me kī kua ea te wāhi ki a rātou.  Rātou kua hoki atu rā ki a Hinenuitepo, ki te wāhi okiokinga mā te tangata.

Ka huri ki a tātou ngā hunga ora kua huihui mai nei i tēnei ahiahi pō, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou.

E tika ana te mihi ki te hau kainga, ngā tangata whenua o tēnei wāhi, ki a koutou Ngati Whaatua o Orakei, tēnei te mihi matakuikui nā tēnei mokopuna a te maunga tītōhea, me te awa tupuna o Waikato.

Nā koutou mātou ko āku tamariki i manaaki, i tiaki, i ngā tau rua tekau mā rima kua pahure, i a mātou e noho manuhiri ana i roto i te wāhi nei.  Nā koutou hoki ahau i whāngai ki ngā kōrero me ngā kaupapa raupatu i pā mai nei ki tēnei iwi me tēnei whenua.

Nō reira, e kore e arikarika te mihi ki a koutou ngā hapū o Orakei, me to koutou whakaaro rangatira mō ngā whānau me ngā whakatipuranga kei te heke mai.  E whakapono ana ahau ka tutuki i a koutou tēnei moemoeā Tēnā koutou.

Ki a koutou ngā iwi e hāpai nei i tēnei pō whakanui, pō whakahirahira, koutou o Ngāti Hine, koutou ngā rangatira o te waka o Tainui, ngā whanaunga o Ngāti Māhanga, nā tō koutou tautoko mai i whakatūria tēnei kaupapa nui mō tātou te iwi Māori, tēnā koutou.

Kei te mihi hoki ahau ki a koe e te Ahorangi Ranginui. Tino hari koa te ngākau kia kite anō i a kōrua ko Deidre. 

Ka huri aku mihi ki a koutou ngā kaiwhakarite o tēnei kaupapa whakahirahira. Koutou ngā Ahorangi Graham, Jim, Jenny me te whānau o Te Puna Wānanga, o te Tari Mātauranga, me te whare wānanga whānui tonu. Kotahi tonu te kaupapa matua o tēnei pō, ko te whakanui i ngā mahi a ngā ākonga e whai tākutatanga ana i roto i te whare wānanga nei.  

He pō nui tēnei nā te mea kua tūtuki tātou i te moemoeā i whakatakotohia e ētahi o tātou hoamahi, kia whakawhiwhia ngā tāngata Māori e rima rau ki te tohu kairangi.  I taku rangona ki tēnei wero a Graham Smith i puta mai te whakaaro, ‘ā kua tākoto te manuka, he mahi nui kei te haere’.

I tērā wā kāore te ao i whakapono ki tēnei kaupapa, ‘auare ake’!  Engari inaianei kua kitea tātou i ngā hua kua puta.  Kua neke atu i te rima rau tākuta Māori.  Kua whakamaua te pae tawhiti, kua tinana te moemoeā inaianei, ko te whāinga hou kia eke ki te kotahi mano rima rau tākuta Māori i roto i ngā tau kei te heke mai.

Nō reira, i raro i tēnei whāinga matua me tēnei moemoeā, kia kaha tātou katoa.  Tērā pea me whai tātou i te kōrero a Te Puea Herangi  ‘mahia te mahi’ kia tūtuki i a tātou tēnei mahi nui.

Nō reira, e ngā rangatira, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Jenny asked me to come tonight to this event and share in acknowledging and celebrating Māori doctoral students here at The University of Auckland.  It is an honor to be here in the multiple roles that I hold now as a Māori academic and researcher.

By multiple roles I stand here as an alumni of the university and the Faculty of education, an Associate Professor of the Univesity of Auckland, Associate Professor of the University of Waikato and an adjunct Associate Professor of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi. I understand I must be able to claim to be the most ‘Associate Professor’ed’ Māori in the world.  But, more importantly than any mahi I do in my life, the most important role I have is that I am a mother of 6 tamariki and a nanny of two very new and gorgeous mokopuna.   My tamariki and mokopuna are my world. Everything I do is about them.  Everything I do is about making this world a better place for our future generations, those who are in our present and those yet to come.

As such, much of the mahi that I now focus on is about turning the tide on the deficit, reductionist, limited views that pervade this society, about Māori, about whānau, about women, about gay, lesbian, transsexual communities. Providing a Māori voice, a kaupapa voice, a critical voice against all forms of oppression.  It is about social justice. It is about realizing dreams.  It is about making the world a better place.  Being transformative. Making a difference. Challenging inequality, speaking out against oppression.  Freeing ourselves.  Taking a stand. In my view that is a critical role for a Māori scholar, to take the notion of academic freedom, to take the role as critic and conscience of society and to run is a widely and deeply as humanly possible.   

That is what I have seen from people I work alongside, that is what I have seen from people within this room, and I want to acknowledge Emeritus Professor Ranginui Walker, who I have had the absolute privilege of sitting on the Constitutional Panel and heard his stories and his critique of history and his absolute assertion of tino rangatiratanga and the foundational place of Te Tīriti o Waitangi. 

Māori scholars, Māori academics such as Rangi, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Graham Smith, Margie Hohepa, Kuni Jenkins, Margaret Mutu, Trish Johnston, Jenny Lee, Cherryl Smith were instrumental in challenging my thinking as a Doctoral student, who also provided alongside people like, Stuart McNaughton, Alison Jones, Judith Simon and others Pākehā staff who provided support and friendship throughout the process.  That whanaungatanga, and collegiality is essential for Māori undertaking this path. It is within the constructs of whānau, manaakitanga, tautoko, ako that we as the Māori education team of the 1990’s found the support and strength to create what I believe to be seminal works and theories that now are central to Kaupapa Māori theory and methodologies. 

Kaupapa Māori theory is important to this night, because it is a part of a movement that has grown exponentially to the point where the goal of 500 phds have been passed and a new goal of 1500 has been set.  The significance of that is that Kaupapa Māori was, and must continue to be, defined and determined in line with a deep understanding and commitment to being Māori, to being whānau, to being hapū, to being iwi. That is its power. That is its potential.  It is not acceptable for that to be taken from our control as Māori. That is the antithesis of what we are asserting when we express principles of tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake. 

I say this because Kaupapa Māori theory – the term – was first expressed here in this university, in this Faculty, and in room 101 in Māori studies one Monday night between 4-7 in 1990. It’s original assertion came from here, Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau, through the Māori education team, and through IRI as a research Institute.   I can say that with absolute certainty because I was present with many of those Māori academics from the then Māori Education group. 

What was important in those days, which is not that long ago although it may seem so for those of you born in that year – or after –  was our belief that as a small team of Māori educationalists that we could, and would, make a difference.  That belief came from our lived realities. From our connectedness to who we are and to each other. To our faith in our own. Our faith in te reo Māori. Our faith in tikanga. Our faith, or what Graham refers to in his work ,and informed by Habermas, as a ‘utopian vision’. That belief and faith isn’t new or unique to that group. It is something that is embedded in the taonga left to us by our tupuna, it is ngā taonga tuku iho, it is tika me te pono, it is te reo.

 What  I want to be clear about is that Kaupapa Māori is not something just written in a thesis. It was and continues to be a life’s work, a life commitment.  That is what Kaupapa Māori theory and methodology is. It is a life commitment.  Kaupapa Māori theory is not a chapter in a thesis. It is not a chapter in a book. It is not a chapter in a journal. Kaupapa Māori theory and methodology is not an academic exercise. It is a lived consciousness.  It is active. It is activist. It is transforming, it is transformative. A key part of that is to ensure what we do makes a difference, that it contributes to transforming the social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual experiences of our people. 

Recently I attended the ‘Children In Crisis conference’ and we were presented the stark realities of the impact of poverty and the role of systemic racism in creating a context where many of our people are struggling every day.   I have also been actively working alongside Maori Providers working in the area of healing Family violence, sexual violence and child abuse.  Not only is the impact of the internal abuse devastating but then many are re-victimised, and experience extreme violence at the hand of agencies and the state.

The recent release of a number of key reports highlight that there are large, and growing numbers, of tamariki within Aotearoa that are living within poverty.  The UNICEF (2013) report ‘Kids Missing Out’, Child Poverty Monitor Technical Report (2013) and reports such as (2011) Left Further Behind: How New Zealand Is Failing It’s Children (2011) by the Child Action Poverty Group have repeated shown that child poverty in Aotearoa is having a significant impact on tamariki and whānau. These issues are at crisis levels for our people and need people like you all to raise awareness and to provide information and knowledge that can inform change. That will make a difference to the lives of our whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori.

That is what makes tonight so inspirational, so exciting, because although the statistics from Jenny show that overall our numbers are small comparatively, they are hugely significant in terms of achieving our long term goals as a people.  The 80 doctoral students at the University of Auckland join the 82 doctoral students in MAI ki Waikato and are a part of the approximately 700   doctoral students within the current MAI programmes. 

We are already on the way to that goal of 1500. 

My hope is that each one of those 1500 Māori Doctors commit to being a part of making a difference, to making change that brings wellbeing to all of our people.  If  we all commit to that then we would truly be a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Nō reira, rau rangatira mā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

A speech given at the University of Auckland Inaugural Maori Doctoral Dinner 2013, University of Auckland, Hosted by Dr Jenny Lee, Head of Department, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Mr Jim Peters, Pro VC Māori.  Supported by Ngāti Hine, Waikato-Tainui
Ko Rangi Matamua te Kaiarotake Reo Māori

 

 

 

Why should Māori support a free and independent West Papua?

Māori and Pacific women raising fists and the Morning Star to support a free and independent West Papua
Māori and Pacific women raising fists and the Morning Star to support a free and independent West Papua

On 01 December Māori and Pacific women claimed busy intersections on Auckland’s Queen Street to stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle and raise our fists. In this stance we encircled the Morning Star flag as our brown sisterhood salute to support a free and independent West Papua (photo above).

On this day in 2004 activist Filep Karma led the raising of the Morning Star in Jayapura and received a 15 year prison sentence. So we raised our flag and our fists 15 times across three Queen Street intersections to symbolise those lost years. We as indigenous Pacific women in Aotearoa felt the responsibility to do what others have lost their freedom for.

I was proud to support this initiative of the visionary Samoan writer, teacher and community activist Leilani Salesa. Leilani collaborated with West Papua Action Auckland (WPPA) and we would not have worked without their support crew handing out pamphlets and interacting with crowd responses to us.

As a Māori woman concerned with indigenous truth for Aotearoa and the world, learning about the plight of West Papua is a personal responsibility. It is part of the same responsibility we have to stand with indigenous peoples everywhere in our campaigns for self-determination over our lands and peoples. Indigenous people are not isolated groups fighting for better control over their small part of the struggling world. All together we are weaving a new global fabric. Our strive for indigenous vision is strengthened by the criss-cross stitch of other indigenous nations.

For some the hegemony has strangled solidarity out of us. When our own are in a hard place, living in poverty, on the street and fighting for an inch of dignity it may be have been too hard to see a group of brown women standing up for peoples living in a whole different land.
“Fuck this shit what about our own fucken independence first!” was the cry coming from one or two who are living in that very hard place on Sunday morning. I get that. It made me sad, but I get that. Lots more needs to happen to support those very people on the streets to be in a better place. But I know that this reaction is not limited to our homeless. Some Māori still need to be convinced that there is any worth in supporting human rights and social justice for anyone else while our own hapū have yet to have our independence fully affirmed.  But the Pacific women performers and the Pākeha and tauiwi people in our support group are the very ones who stand alongside Tangata Whenua in our own struggles. And I agree that any fight for social justice must begin with support for our own tino rangatiratanga. Thankfully the mislaid reactions to us did not deter our focussed, poised and dignified group of women and our support group. We kept marching silently but powerfully down the street to our next intersection for our fisted flag-raise.

So we absolutely need to do right by our own people urgently and remain vigilant in that. Part of that is to draw on the strength of our indigenous relations around the world fighting for the same things we are. As Māori we can stand with other activists and groups to let West Papua know we hear them. Hapū and Iwi around Aotearoa have long since been resisting Crown destruction of their territories and we know this will intensify as the neoliberal terrorism steps up around here. We already need the global support in this and we need to give global support to others. Some of us are in that privileged place where we can be a voice, raise our resistance fists, block a road or write a blog in the global uprising. I always say that those of us who can – must.

And also we must because it is hard to get traction with media on this issue. Leilani was painfully thorough in her promotion and sent the media release to all the right places. No one came with their tv cameras which was a shame because it was definitely a visual spectacle. You can see amazing photos from our generous photographer Tanu here.

Currently West Papua is under effective Indonesian control. West Papuan people are constantly terrorised by the Indonesian military, paramilitary police and intelligence agencies. Journalists and humanitarian workers are excluded or their movements are tightly restricted. For a credible insight into the background and the realities of this oppression please see Keith Locke’s blog here. Keith is a long time campaigner on the West Papuan situation and was in the support group on the day.

West Papua Action Auckland (WPPA) remind us how New Zealand is complicit in some of the human rights abuses that happen in West Papua. New Zealand also plays a role in massive environmental destruction of West Papua. The people there deserve their unspoiled lands the same way we are protesting to protect ours. Again this is where the global demand for environmental protections ensures that Māori care about what else is happening in the world. I encourage people to join the WPPA mailing list by emailing westpapuaactionauckland@gmail.com as they offer practical ideas for us all to support an independent West Papua.

So on the morning of Sunday 01 December we gathered at the Waharoa (the big carved archway) on Aotea Square built by Selwyn Muru. We left from that point and marched single file behind the Morning Star stopping at Queen Street intersections for our performance intervention. After our street theatre we marched back to the Selwyn’s Waharoa hence completing our circle of action. Being part of this has raised my awareness and leaves me with the responsibility to better support our Te Wharepora Hou member Sina Brown-Davis who is a passionate West Papua expert for our group.

West Papua independence Queen Street line Dec 2013

Please also see the blog here from Ema Tavola one of our Pacific women in the performance group.

Ngā mihi tautoko ki a koutou ngā iwi taketake o te whenua West Papua. Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

Papua Merdeka!