Mira Szaczy Research Centre Maori Business and Alumni Commendation

The Award Ngati Kuta and Patukeha received last night was

A Mira Szaczy Research Centre Maori Business and Alumni Commendation for Ngati Kuta me Patukeha Hapu ki Te Rawhiti Strategic Planning

The ceremony was held in a huge white, muslin lined marquee on the grounds of old government house with 300 people in it. The food was served to us and ‘Ruia’ the Aperahama brothers Band played all the oldies all night.

It was the first Award of its kind and Peter Withers, (Associate Professor of the Auckland University Business School) who was a facilitator with Dr Manuka Henare, (Dean of the Mira Sczazcy Research Centre) at our Economic Hui, introduced us. He said that he spent a magical weekend at Te Rawhiti with the hapu who had some disagreements and wanted to plan together for their future. He arrived and the community was there and their children and we talked about economics and took them to uncomfortable places at times and then we broke in to groups and the children had their group.

That night he said, we went home and the hapu sat and worked together and produced for us their Economic Whakapapa which is what they called their Strategic Plan and they taught Manuka and I about economics because their plan covered 200 years.

The whakapapa of economics began with their ancestors and went in to the future for their descendants. He said that they use the concept in their teaching at University which we developed that weekend. Think about the term whakapapa he said as applied to economics. It’s wonderful. So, he said, that we thought that this small community should be recognised for their efforts to provide an wholistic economy for its people to participate in.

So all 15 of us trooped on to the stage-Teresa King, Joe & Vivienne Bristowe, Winnie Pepene, Marara Hook, Te Aroha Mere Rewha, Matu Clendon, Waiana Clendon Collier and her daughter, Pagen, Robert Willoughby, Cheryle, his sister,Matthew Harte,Natasha Clarke and me. Marara and Mere (they being the oldest in our group -who by the way were in the Maori Committee and chaired it, in the 60’s to the 80’s talking about the conservation of the environment and employment) received the framed certificate (which will hang in the Whare) from the Dean of the Business School.

Marara gave her korero thanking everyone for the award and said that Mira Szcazy was outspoken about women’s rights so because of her award she did not feel funny about speaking before her brother, Robert. She explained about our long term involvement with our moana and whenua and wanting something done about it. Robert then spoke explaining how we had come to this point of being proactive and deciding that we had to do something. His speech was very good. Then Mere spoke very poetically about her feelings in receiving this award for both our hapu. I added thanks to Manuka and Peter and to TRAION-Ngapuhi Runanga- and forgot Tracey from Min Fish (did it afterwards).

We sang one verse of Rakaumangamanga (Aunty Marara wanted all verses but we democratically decided beforehand). We felt very unified there, both our hapu did. It was a tribute to those before us and our current whanau.

The other people that night who received awards were the current students-one graduate girl (finished her degrees) and one undergraduate(hadn’t finished his degree) and alumni (former students) – Marama Findlay who has about 7 degrees received an award for excellence; Wayne Mulligan from Te Atiawa and Ngati Maniapoto and Brett Shepherd, Ngati Maru, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Whanaunga (who heads the Deutsch Bank Investments and makes $2m a year in salary and commissions) was chosen by the Alumni as the Supreme Maori Business Leader, 2007. He was from the Hauraki Plains.

He got a framed certificate and a mere pounamu and a lot of aroha from his generational whanau on stage with him.

I rang Ana White who is the Secretary of the Mira Szcazy Centre and organises things and she said that they had just had a de-brief about the evening and they thought that the hapu onstage were fabulous and she said, that Kuia, how dare she know the word sustainability (because Marara said that that was what our Plan was about and she said -not bad using that word for a Kuia ay-in Maori.) and the other Kuia, what a beautiful speech she made. Oh it was lovely. Robert did so well too. Oh, look, she said, it hasn’t been done before giving an award to hapu. That was how strongly your hui meant to them (Manuka and Peter). We thought that the evening was just the best. You added to it, your hapu being there and hearing your kuia and kaumatua.

So, whanau, that was the evening and we were there on your behalf and we remembered you all and felt pride for us all.

The outcomes from this award are:

  • that perhaps we may get more assistance from TRAION. (Natasha went over to speak to Allen Wihongi and he was surprised to see her and the whanau and was totally impressed when she said that we were nominated for an award)
  • that we can use the expertise of the University in our economic ventures-they have offered to do this.
  • that our tamariki have a direct line in to the University and it is not now millions of miles away-it’s close. We can take our children to visit there on open days, say and keep the doors of their minds open and encourage them to continue.
  • that the networks of the Business School Alumni is available to us all
  • that our hapu from a rural area bring with us a flax roots community determining its own future and its protection of its environmentfor its own benefit first

Teresa King rang and said she loved the evening and that she felt we were one whanau and achieving together. Arthur Harawira rang, ecstatic about our award and he congratulated us to me because he was there at that economic hui. He’s going to put it into an iwi newsletter.

Nga mihi aroha ki a taatou,

Helen

To find out more about this aware, visit the Mira Szaczy Research Centre website.

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