Inspiring confidence, inspiring change: Tai Tokerau student reflects on UN leadership symposium experience

10 September 2018

In celebration of Māori Language Week, we are publishing a piece by Tāmati Rākena, a student at Tai Tokerau Campus studying the Bachelor of Education (Teaching) Huarahi Māori. Tāmati reflects on his recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand, where he attended the United Nations 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium, with support from an Equity Supplementary Grant. An English version (also written by the author) follows the piece in Te Reo Māori.

 

Tamati Rakena
Tāmati Rakena in Bangkok

I te ahunga mai o te Here o Pipiri i wehe atu au ki Bangkok, Tairana ki tēnei kaupapa e kīia nei ko te 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium. Takiwā o te 1,050 ngā tāngata i tau atu ki Bangkok mō tēnei hui, ki te kimi, ki te whawhaki haere i ngā mātauranga, me ngā mahere rautaki huhua o te ao, kātahi ka whakahoki ki o rātou ake whenua hei huarahi whai oranga. Ko te whāinga nui o tēnei hui, kia whakakotahi i ngā hunga katoa o te ao, e kōkiri ana, e anga ana ki ngā taumata ikeike o te mātauranga. Waihoki, me manawanui ia te tangata ki ngā take nunui e ngaukino nei i te ao whānui, ā, me mātau hoki ki o rātou moemoeā, ki o rātou ake wawata hei whakarauora i ēnei take whānui.

Nā tētahi o ōku kaiako a Katarina Edmonds ahau i tono mō tēnei hui. Ehara i te mea he māmā noa iho te tono mō tēnei haerenga, he maha ngā puka tono me oti ai i ahau i mua i te whakaaetanga nui, nō reira me mihi ka tika ki Te Whare Wānanga, ngā kaihāpai me te kōmiti tuku pūtea mō tā rātou tautoko. I tino ohorere ahau ki taua tono, i te mea kīhai ahau i whakaaro kei taua taumata ahau e noho ana, kīhai ahau i mōhio ki ōku ake pūkenga hei hāpai i tēnei kaupapa, hei hāpai i ō tātou hapori anō hoki. Nōku te whiwhinga nui kia tū hei kanohi, hei tētēkura mō te iwi Māori, Aotearoa, me te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki anō hoki. I koa katoa te ngākau i runga i te whakaaro i tupu ake au ki roto i tētahi tāone e hanga putu ana, i tau mai te maha o ngā raruraru ki runga i ahau e tupu ake ana, nō reira i kona ōku whakaaro e patupatu ana. I kūare ahau ki ngā hua e hīnātore mai ana i te puna mātauranga.

Hei hokinga mahara, i tino waimarie ahau ki te whiwhi i tēnei tono nui. Kua kite, kua rongo hoki au i ngā taumahatanga kei runga i ngā hunga nō whenua kē atu, ngā kaupapa e patu ana i ngā iwi taketake, ngā hunga rawakore, ngā hunga pōhara, me ngā kino katoa o te ao. I pā mai te wairua mokemoke mō ngā tāngata e noho ana ki raro i te kapua pōuri ia te rā, ia te rā; he āhuatanga motuhake ki a rātou, koia te mea i tino whati ai te manawa. Heoi, mai i ēnei akoranga, i mataara ōku whakaaro me taku aro ki ngā take o te kāinga nei. He waimarie nui nō tātou katoa o Aotearoa ki ngā painga me ngā hua o tēnei whenua. Āe kei te mōhio au ki ngā raruraru, ngā hōhātanga o tēnei whenua, engari ki te whakatairite ēnei momo āhuatanga ki ērā atu whenua e noho pōhara, e noho pakanga tonu ana me ngā haukino katoa, e tika ana me kī kei ngā pae o hāneanea tātou e noho ana. Ka mutu, kia kaha ai tātou ki te anga whakamua kia kore ēnei āhuatanga e pā nei ki runga i a tātou, kia ita tonu ki tō tātou ake tuakiri, ki tō tātou ake ahurea, kei ngaro ki ngā taniwha o te ao whakamate tāngata, whenua rānei mō te pūtea te take.

Hei whakakapi, e kore te puna o mihi e mimiti ki ngā ringa i tautoko mai i taku haerenga ki tāwāhi. Mei kore ko koutou, kua kore tēnei kūmara e puāwai, ā, ka noho mārō ēnei akoranga ki te tihi o mātāpunenga mō ake tonu atu. Ka mutu e haere tonu ana ngā mihi ki ngā kaupapa nui e haere ake nei mō Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, te Mahuru Māori me ngā kaupapa, ngā rautaki maha e hāpai ana i te oranga o te reo. Kia kaha rā tātou ki te kōrero, ki te whāngai atu i tō tātou reo rangatira. Ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere, ko te reo kia kounga, ko te reo kia Māori.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Nā Tāmati Rākena

“Kei te pae o Angitū tō tātou aro, tō tātou oranga.”

 

Watch this video of Tāmati talking about his first day at the conference
Tamati Rakena
Tāmati Rakena

In the first week of August 2018 I was privileged to be able to attend the United Nations 9th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand. Around 1,050 university scholars from 87 different countries gathered to talk about humanitarian issues around the world. We listened to speakers who have done a range projects – from setting up libraries for children in need, to restoring orphanages across the globe to aid children who have lost their families through war, poverty, slavery, economic collapse and of course climate change. The symposium aimed to address the issues that we all face globally and uncover our true potential as leaders and agents of change in our communities.

Katarina Edmonds was the one who prompted me to apply to be a delegate to this symposium. She also helped me complete an application for an Equity Supplementary Grant; it is definitely not an easy task to sift through the applications and get approval from the United Nations, the University and the Equity Committee. I was shocked to have been considered as a possible participant for this symposium, given that in previous years before I started studying, I had no idea of the skillset that I possessed to be able to inspire confidence, inspire change and give back to my community.

I’m very grateful to have been able to attend this symposium. I have seen and heard only a few of the dilemmas that other countries have had to endure for years, but I was hit by sadness for those people who have lived their lives in this way for so long, it’s heart-breaking that they think it’s normal. In saying this, I have become more aware of the issues we face here in Aotearoa. We need to be grateful for the beautiful country we live in and the privileges we have on our doorsteps. I know we are always facing our own issues day to day in Aotearoa, but in comparison to the poverty, wars and the injustices in other countries, I think it’s fair to say that we need to show some form of gratitude. We are ahead of most countries in terms of addressing these global issues and I believe we need to keep it that way.

I am forever thankful to those who supported me on this journey. To Katarina for her ongoing support, the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work, the Equity Committee and to those who helped in the background. The experiences and knowledge that I have gathered from this symposium will not be forgotten and will not go to waste. I want to make a special mention to our very own Māori Language Week that takes place from the 10–16 September, Mahuru Māori (another Māori language initiative) and also to the multitudes of language revitalisation programmes currently being implemented in our communities.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Nā Tāmati Rākena

“Kei te pae o Angitū tō tātou aro, tō tātou oranga.”