In this issue we take the opportunity to acknowledge Tā Mark Solomon on his 18 years as Kaiwhakahaere o Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. We reflect upon his contribution to Ngāi Tahu, to Māoridom, and in fact to the whole of Aotearoa.
This year Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu celebrates 20 years since the Settlement was signed with the Crown in 1997. At that time our tribal membership registration was around 8500. In comparison, more than 56,000 are registered today. The year ahead will be a walk down memory lane as we set out to celebrate the long pathway leading up to the Settlement through a number of events, to be held in the coming months.
TE RERENGA – THE FLIGHT is an acoustic rock musical featuring 80 intriguing and detailed “Flatso” puppets inspired by Māori rock art sites in the Aoraki region. It’s a re-telling of the Ngāi Tahu legend of Pourangahua the Birdman and his epic flight to Aotearoa in search of his own kind.
A few people have been asking me questions because of my last column. Chiefly, what is the “Youth Custody Index” (YCI), and what is it all about?
The YCI is a St Thomas of Canterbury College project run by a group of senior students and is a collation of information regarding the state of youth in custody in New Zealand – both good and bad. The point of the index is to spark debate and raise awareness of any discrepancies and issues.
After learning thousands of characters, attending hundreds of classes, making dozens of friends from all over the world, travelling to several new places, sitting four exams, and completing two semesters, my time in China is coming to an end.
I remember when I first arrived, thinking about how much I took the small pleasures of home for granted. Things like a clear blue sky, fresh air, the green landscape, being able to see the horizon, the stars at night, how fresh our food generally is, how you can get from one side of town to the other without any hassles, and so on. Now, I find myself thinking similarly about China.
Tā Mark Solomon is not the kind of man who speaks at length about himself. He values his privacy and he’s prone to under-playing any suggestion that he’s made a significant contribution to Māoridom, to Ngāi Tahu.
The fact that he was knighted in 2013 in recognition of the work he has done for Ngāi Tahu and for Māoridom is a case in point. His initial reaction was to baulk at the honour, but there were those who told him to “pull his head in,” that it wasn’t just for him, it was for the tribe. He relates how he was told firmly to “get up there to Wellington and receive the honour on behalf of the tribe.”
He Rau Mahara, a project being undertaken by the Whakapapa Unit of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, seeks to do the same for those Ngāi Tahu men who served in the Great War of 1914–1918. They fought on battlefields far from home, with some of them never to return to the country they were fighting for. “Their names are not often celebrated in our tribal history, but the struggles and sacrifices they went through deserve our recognition,” says Whakapapa Unit Manager Arapata Reuben. “He Rau Mahara is about creating a taonga that recognises the contribution they made.”
Covering more than 89 square kilometres, Te Whaka a Te Wera is the largest mātaitai in the country by a considerable margin. It encompasses 8000 hectares of sheltered waters within the inlet, excluding about 25% covered by the Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve, and a marine farming area within Big Glory Bay.
“There’s a saying I love,” says Leah Menage. “‘Life is for living, so get a straw and suck it dry.’ To me that means seize every opportunity that you can and never give up.”
This message is particularly poignant for Leah, who grew up believing that she was not entitled to many of the opportunities that most of us take for granted – simple things like holding a driver’s licence, opening a bank account, and choosing who to marry. She spent her childhood in the community that we now know as Gloriavale Christian Community.
The Government today introduced the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Bill and the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Government has also indicated a third Bill, the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Bill, will be introduced to the House on Thursday. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu welcomes the introduction of these Bills…
A new initiative to restore the health of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō was launched today. The initiative will see five major players in the management of Whakaraupō/ Lyttelton Harbour – Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company – join forces to create an action…