Leadership

Matariki—A Marker of Nationhood

Perry Rush
June 17, 2022
Leadership

Matariki—A Marker of Nationhood

Perry Rush
Perry Rush
June 17, 2022

Last week I spent Friday and Saturday morning at Maketu Marae on the beautiful Kāwhia harbour. I was fortunate to be invited, along with other Uniservices staff by Kaiārahi, Tui Kaumoana, and Kaitātari Tauhokohoko, Paraone Luiten-Apirana.

The opportunity enabled those attending to learn about Matariki and mātauranga Māori—Māori navigation steered by the sun, stars, and the natural world.

What a treat it was standing outside late Friday night, each of us representing a different house on the Te Kapehu Whetū – the Māori star compass, with the heavens spread out above us.

Manihera Forbes led the conversation under the night sky sharing his knowledge of traditional navigation techniques and how they had been used to sail the Pacific in traditional double-hulled waka.

The session was twice interrupted by shooting stars that drew gasps from us all as if the important knowledge we were digesting was underlined by the heavens.

The visit to Maketu Marae was bookended by rain but not Friday night when we gathered under the stars. The curtain of clouds was drawn back in perfect time to allow us to gaze upwards and marvel. There are times in life when one is so immersed in the beauty of our country that words are insufficient to describe the experience.

This was one of those times.

Earlier that day we had also sat and listened to the adventures of master navigator Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr who led a kōrero about using traditional methods to sail all over the Pacific.

As the first nationwide Matariki celebration draws close, I have been reflecting on how far we have come as a nation. That we are about to add Matariki, the Māori New Year to our raft of national holidays is in no small measure, a wonderful moment.

It marks a growing maturity as a nation in recognising not only the knowledge and histories of Tangata Whēnua—the people of the land, but also our shared recognition and celebration of Te Ao Māori—the Māori world.

If we educators are to grow schools and ultimately the next generation of young people to be genuine Tiriti partners, then it cannot always be as Moana Maniapoto described at the 2019 New Zealand Principals’ Federation Conference, ‘Māori crossing the bridge to the Pākehā world’. It must be matched by ‘Pākehā crossing the bridge to the Māori world’.

That is why Matariki has significance as a national celebration. It marks a leap forward in lifting the presence and understanding of Te Ao Māori for everyone who calls Aotearoa New Zealand home.

The challenge for Pākehā, like myself, couldn’t be clearer.

Pākehā live in a society that is affirming of their culture. From birth, most Pākehā are conditioned by an ideology that reinforces western norms. These norms are found in the interactions of daily life, in our schools and what they teach, in textbooks, politics, movies, advertising, holiday celebrations, words, and phrases.

But this year, we are all celebrating Māori knowledge and that is an act of genuine partnership.

This experience of genuine partnership is growing within Government and within the institutions that give shape to our everyday way of life.

Finally, there is an understanding that the Rangatira who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in February 1840 did not cede their sovereignty to Britain, ‘That is, they did not cede authority to make and enforce law over their people or their territories as the Māori version of Te Tiriti afforded Tino Rangatiratanga, their independence and full chiefly authority’.

The implication of this reality is seen in the establishment of the Māori Health Authority or in the exponential growth of Māori Medium Schooling—Te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, and Ngā Kura ā Iwi.

Such schools are powerful places to grow Māori strong as Māori.

We have some distance to go to fully understand how Tino Rangatiratanga finds form in our country.

But the future is bright. We are growing into a mature understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi informed by an accurate understanding of our own history. Our inaugural Matariki celebration is a marker of the distance we have come and a reminder that there is still much to achieve as a nation.

True partnership is a fledgling sapling so let’s keep being brave, nurture it, and let it grow roots.

This Matariki, let’s all enjoy crossing the bridge to Te Ao Māori. Then make a plan to cross more frequently until one day a bridge is no longer necessary.

Happy New Year!

Perry Rush
Perry leads stakeholder engagement, to ensure Tui Tuia understands the needs and priorities of our key stakeholder groups and how we might support them around their professional development endeavours.
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Matariki—A Marker of Nationhood

Last week I spent Friday and Saturday morning at Maketu Marae on the beautiful Kāwhia harbour. I was fortunate to be invited, along with other Uniservices staff by Kaiārahi, Tui Kaumoana, and Kaitātari Tauhokohoko, Paraone Luiten-Apirana.

The opportunity enabled those attending to learn about Matariki and mātauranga Māori—Māori navigation steered by the sun, stars, and the natural world.

What a treat it was standing outside late Friday night, each of us representing a different house on the Te Kapehu Whetū – the Māori star compass, with the heavens spread out above us.

Manihera Forbes led the conversation under the night sky sharing his knowledge of traditional navigation techniques and how they had been used to sail the Pacific in traditional double-hulled waka.

The session was twice interrupted by shooting stars that drew gasps from us all as if the important knowledge we were digesting was underlined by the heavens.

The visit to Maketu Marae was bookended by rain but not Friday night when we gathered under the stars. The curtain of clouds was drawn back in perfect time to allow us to gaze upwards and marvel. There are times in life when one is so immersed in the beauty of our country that words are insufficient to describe the experience.

This was one of those times.

Earlier that day we had also sat and listened to the adventures of master navigator Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr who led a kōrero about using traditional methods to sail all over the Pacific.

As the first nationwide Matariki celebration draws close, I have been reflecting on how far we have come as a nation. That we are about to add Matariki, the Māori New Year to our raft of national holidays is in no small measure, a wonderful moment.

It marks a growing maturity as a nation in recognising not only the knowledge and histories of Tangata Whēnua—the people of the land, but also our shared recognition and celebration of Te Ao Māori—the Māori world.

If we educators are to grow schools and ultimately the next generation of young people to be genuine Tiriti partners, then it cannot always be as Moana Maniapoto described at the 2019 New Zealand Principals’ Federation Conference, ‘Māori crossing the bridge to the Pākehā world’. It must be matched by ‘Pākehā crossing the bridge to the Māori world’.

That is why Matariki has significance as a national celebration. It marks a leap forward in lifting the presence and understanding of Te Ao Māori for everyone who calls Aotearoa New Zealand home.

The challenge for Pākehā, like myself, couldn’t be clearer.

Pākehā live in a society that is affirming of their culture. From birth, most Pākehā are conditioned by an ideology that reinforces western norms. These norms are found in the interactions of daily life, in our schools and what they teach, in textbooks, politics, movies, advertising, holiday celebrations, words, and phrases.

But this year, we are all celebrating Māori knowledge and that is an act of genuine partnership.

This experience of genuine partnership is growing within Government and within the institutions that give shape to our everyday way of life.

Finally, there is an understanding that the Rangatira who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in February 1840 did not cede their sovereignty to Britain, ‘That is, they did not cede authority to make and enforce law over their people or their territories as the Māori version of Te Tiriti afforded Tino Rangatiratanga, their independence and full chiefly authority’.

The implication of this reality is seen in the establishment of the Māori Health Authority or in the exponential growth of Māori Medium Schooling—Te Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, and Ngā Kura ā Iwi.

Such schools are powerful places to grow Māori strong as Māori.

We have some distance to go to fully understand how Tino Rangatiratanga finds form in our country.

But the future is bright. We are growing into a mature understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi informed by an accurate understanding of our own history. Our inaugural Matariki celebration is a marker of the distance we have come and a reminder that there is still much to achieve as a nation.

True partnership is a fledgling sapling so let’s keep being brave, nurture it, and let it grow roots.

This Matariki, let’s all enjoy crossing the bridge to Te Ao Māori. Then make a plan to cross more frequently until one day a bridge is no longer necessary.

Happy New Year!