3 August, 2012
Launch for Ngāti Whakaue Trades Training Initiative
E te tupuna whare, tēnā koe. E ngā uri o Ohomairangi, tēnā koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
I acknowledge my parliamentary colleagues, Todd McClay and Te Ururoa Flavell, Dr Toby Curtis, Malcolm Short and Mayor Kevin Winters.
Mai Maketū ki Tongariro ...
Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Te Arawa māngai-nui ūpoko tū-takitaki
From Maketū to Tongariro ...
Te Arawa the canoe
Te Arawa the determined people
I mihi to Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Trustees, Tumahaurangi staff and trustees, and thank you for the invitation to launch the Ngāti Whakaue Trades Training initiative today.
Your vision and tenacity to mobilise the people to come together to train a generation of new builders and carpenters through the Māori trades training model is to be applauded.
Across te Ao Māori, whenever there is mention of Maori Trades Training there is a collective sigh as our people recall the heydays of the scheme, run by the former Department of Māori Affairs from 1959 until the mid 1980s.
So many of our whānau benefitted from the programme, graduating with formal trade training and relevant qualifications; being fully equipped to enter careers in trade and industry.
What you are doing today, builds on that platform of hope in providing the inspiration and the impetus amongst our whānau to plan for education for sustainable employment.
Your determination to create this initiative is to be applauded not because you obtained funding and support from the Tertiary Education Commission; the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education and Te Puni Kokiri but that you have taken the opportunity to create your own future by believing in yourselves.
It is a great day to come here to your place, to celebrate your success in securing 150 places for pre-trade training for the Christchurch rebuild.
And so while I mihi to the managers and staff who did the appropriate funding proposals, spoke to the right people to get support for the initiative and rallied around whānau to recruit the trainees, I particularly want to mihi to our whānau today who have chosen to support the initiative.
For without you, no fancy funding proposal or government funded programme would ever get off the ground.
Your commitment to plan for a better future for your whole whānau and enrol in this programme is important for two reasons.
The first is that you have taken a step in forging a career pathway for yourself and the second, and more important reason, is that you have inspired others around you to plan to do the same.
Just as Ngatoroirangi planned his karakia when confronted with Te korokoro o te Parata to ensure the waka didn’t capsize, so too have you planned for a different path to navigate for your whānau.
By your very decision to be a part of this initiative, for whatever that part might be, you have planted a seed to create plans and pathways in education for your whole whānau – those young ones who are yet to decide what to do when they finish kura, and any other whānau who want to get on the education waka.
As I have repeatedly said as I make reference to Whānau Ora, it is not in how much funding we can obtain from the Budget.
Whānau Ora is not about how many plans we can get funded within that Budget.
Whānau Ora is about HOW we go about restoring to ourselves the inherent belief we have in each other, to do for ourselves the things we need to do, in order to secure our own bright futures.
And I know we can do it. There is no question about that. Our history tells us so.
When Te Kooti Rikirangi arrived at the marae of Kauangaroa for the opening of the wharepuni, he told the whānau gathered.
“Ka totoro atu tōku ringa ki ngā pito e whā o te ao, e kore e taea te whakahoki mai’
‘When my hands stretch out to the four corners of the world, they will not return fruitless’.
Today this journey takes our rangatahi from the loving arms of Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa into the warm welcome of Ngāi Tahu. You are venturing far – a long way from home – to take up the opportunities but you are comforted in the knowledge that you always have a place to return to.
And so as I think of this illustrious wharenui of Tamatekapua, I am transported back to a time when Ihenga would have first laid eyes on this whenua.
I reflect on what Ihenga would have been thinking as he discovered each nook and cranny of this region. Would he have envisaged the development of his people in the form that it has taken?
Maybe, maybe not. I have no doubt however that Ihenga would have known, just as you and I do, that the whenua that has sustained you since time immemorial, will continue to do so for generations to come.
This whenua with its beautiful lakes, its mountains and rivers, its rich history.
Our history leads us forward – both to embrace the fullness of the world awaiting you – while at the same time having our foot firmly planted in our own tūrangawaewae.
One of my tupuna rangatira, Mere Rikiriki – the prophet, expressed this very idea -
Kotahi waewae kei roto i te wai, kotahi waewae kei tua i te whenua;
one foot on the land; one foot on the water.
All of these legacies from our past combine with the learnings of today, to help prepare us for experiences ahead.
As I gaze out upon the glistening waters of Ngā Waikarekare o Marupunganui out there in all its resplendent glory with Te Motutapa a Tinirau proudly taking centre stage in the middle of the lake, I think about your journey, our journey, to arrive here today.
And just like Ngatoroirangi and Tamatekapua, who had many a choppy seas to navigate to arrive at their resting place, to forge a better life for Ngāti Ohomairangi, I know you are all doing the same.
And I know just like all of us we are not just treading water. Why? Well it’s simple.
The same strength that you take from knowing that those waters out there will continue to provide the spiritual sustenance that have caressed your wairua since your tupuna first laid eyes on it, is the same source of strength that I rely on when I return home to the awa.
It is the same source of strength of knowing who you are so that you know where you are going, that has bought the iwi of Te Arawa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whānau-a-Apanui and Ngāi Tahu together, to create this exciting opportunity for our whānau.
As students, you will have heard a call from within to gather together to support our whānau in Ngāi Tahu, and you have responded.
You will stand shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and kinsmen to go to battle for your whānau. You will wage war on the poverty of mind and spirit that have plagued our minds too often, and you will come home richer for the experience.
Your enthusiasm and energy will inspire those around you to take up the challenge too, and repeat the same planning and execution that has seen countless thousands of others within your various iwi succeed in education and training.
And I need not remind you as you embark on this kaupapa, while our respective roles might be different, for all of us, it is the journey along the way that matters.
Our joint efforts to plan a better future for our whole whānau is what brings us all here today.
The building apprenticeships you do will provide benefits for whānau for generations to come.
The building blocks that have been put in place for you by the joint efforts of iwi, employers, government and the Tumahaurangi Trust are just that.
The Māori trades training initiatives of yesteryear were in my mind the most successful models of industry training around. Thousands of our rangatahi went through the Māori trades training model, and it worked.
I have no doubt that the work of Rongo Puha and his team will do the same justice to the work that our Māori trades training units of the past have done for our whānau.
To that end, I look forward to your progress and the developments that will ensue.
But mostly I look forward to the progress that each of you trainees will make in the development of your whānau education plans.
Can I leave you with some words of inspiration from the recently acclaimed short film Māori Boy Genius:
I follow the footsteps of Tāne Nui a Rangi
Who climbed the great root of knowledge
Things were thrown at him
To try to stop him
But he got there
And when he reached the top
He took the three baskets of knowledge
And bought them back down to his people
That’s what I pursue
Pursue all that is cherished and precious to you, for your whānau. Breathe life in to your plans to make a better future for your whānau and trust in yourselves and your ability to do so.
Kia ora tātou.