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Ngā Hau e Whā
From the Editor

As we go to print, the world continues to reel from the incomprehensible impacts of COVID-19, which as we have seen is not selective. Therefore, unsurprisingly much of the content in this issue of TE KARAKA has a COVID focus. Life in the USA – A Grim Reality (page 36) is a poignant piece written by Ngāi Tahu wahine Ila Couch who is currently in lockdown in America. Her honest and sobering account is yet another reminder of how fortunate we are to be living in Aotearoa at this time. Closer to home our cover story, Against the COVID tide, offers a positive story of restaurant owner Sahni Bennett, who is rising above the challenges presented by lockdown to keep the doors of her successful Lyttelton café open.

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From the CEO
Lockdown Learnings

You would be silly to think that working from home over the past three months has slowed productivity to a snail’s pace – from my experience it certainly isn’t the case. Adjusting to staying within your home environment 24/7 was something we all had thrust on us at short notice. Whether on your own or in a house full of whānau, we had to find ways to cope within our confined space. There were many things I noticed during lockdown – from the empty sound of silence at night due to no planes across the usual flight path, to no early morning traffic noise in the distance on the motorway. I also started to notice the beautiful birdsong outside my window, and after checking out all the sounds on Mrs Google, I’m sure I heard the korimako (bellbird).

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Whenua
Tamatea

Tamatea is the Māori name for Dusky Sound in Te Rua-o-Te-Moko (Fiordland). One of the most complex of the many fiords along the coastline, it is also one of the largest. The large island of Mauikatau (Resolution Island) is located near its entrance, and Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula) shelters the mouth of the sound from the northwest.

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Ka Hao Te Rakatahi
COVID-19 and Te Ao Māori in 2020

A pivotal moment in our lives. I must admit I have remained pretty calm despite Aunty Cindy declaring a state of emergency and the World Health Organisation announcing this a global pandemic. On the other hand, I am here to hold space for te iwi Māori and let this serve as a reminder that we have the right to make our own decisions about our issues. We’re not here merely to provide ‘advice’ or ‘consultation’. We make our own decisions, period.

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He Whakaaro
When a Fortnite feels like six weeks

I’ve just found out we are going into full-on lockdown. I managed to get back from the Chatham Islands in time and I’m pumped. I have a lockdown plan that will be the envy of all parents. My kids will be better taught, better trained, just all-round better people under my home learning regime. Four weeks they say. It’ll be a breeze – or so I thought.

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He Whakaaro
Rising to the Challenge

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 late last year, the word “unprecedented” has been used countless times by politicians, health officials and media across the world to describe the severity of this global crisis. As the situation evolved, I found myself reflecting on another unprecedented outcome experienced here in Aotearoa – a groundswell of collective kindness and goodwill, accompanied by a widespread willingness to support the government’s strategy to protect our people and eliminate the virus. We saw it when our borders began to close, and those of us returning from overseas went into voluntary self-isolation to ensure we didn’t unwittingly contribute to the spread of the virus. We saw it when we adapted to social distancing requirements, finding new ways to express friendship and aroha.

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He Whakaaro
Kei Te Anga Atu Koe Ki Hea: Where to Post-COVID-19?

I often wonder whether those who started the Ngāi Tahu Claim could have imagined the fruits of their labours 170-plus years on. Take Matiaha Tiramōrehu for example, a refugee from Kaiapoi Pā, who survived extreme hardship and loss, had every reason to give up, but rather than be defeated was somehow blessed with a vision of a better future and became the founding father of Te Kerēme.

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Realising a better future

Shayne Walker (Ngāi Tahu – Awarua) is unreservedly excited when he talks about the opportunity for transformative change presented by the burgeoning partnership between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Oranga Tamariki. “I’m stoked, like superbly stoked, that our iwi has lined up for this,” he says. “In signing the partnership, they’ve said: ‘We want to get on with this. We want to care for our own tamariki, as well as all tamariki in care in our takiwā.’” More importantly, Oranga Tamariki is working alongside the iwi to realise that aspiration. “The CEO and senior leadership team are desperate for this to succeed,” says Shayne. “To me that’s the exciting part – my observation is that the national leadership team and the local staff that we deal with here in Dunedin, they turn up to be good partners.”

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Restoring the mana of our most vulnerable

In 2018 the Labour-led coalition government established the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. This came after years of lobbying from survivors, community leaders, iwi Māori, the Human Rights Commission and the United Nations. The inquiry is investigating why people were taken into care, the abuses that took place, and the lasting impact on survivors. It is specifically focusing on Māori, Pasifika and disabled people because of the disproportionate representation of these communities in the care system.

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Building on a legacy

Peter Ramsden (Rangitāne, Ngāi Tahu – Koukourarata) is a man well known for his boundless passion – for his people, the environment and for the regeneration of the place he calls home – Koukourarata. In the recent Queen’s Birthday honours, Peter was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for his considerable contribution to the environment over the past decades.

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