Ara mai he tētēkura: Visioning our futures

Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi

Manu AO Academy
Ara mai he tētēkura : visioning our futures

Mate atu he tētēkura, whakaeke mai he tētēkura

Wharewaka waitangi 88939_0452

Yesterday was one of those delightful days : a room full of Māori academics at Te Raukura : Wharewaka, on the waterfront of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, giving voice to their ideas on the āhua of new and emerging Māori academic leadership.

The formation of the Manu AO Academy is yet one more example of Mason Durie’s moemoeā and koha to New Zealand academia and practitioners, in advancing and developing a futuristic collective society and culture for every New Zealander. This is the trendsetting man who in the past had me (an outsider to health or tertiary systems) searching furiously to understand “nga whare tapa wha”, te pae mahutonga, and, more recently, transformational and transactional leadership.

So, I’m at the Wharewaka, my pen on auto scrawl, in a storm of frenzied note-taking, trying to net the whakaaro of first-up speaker, Tā Tipene ORegan, – his main themes being:
o A leader needs followers – if no one follows you, you are not a leader.
o A leader will resonate with and share the individual’s qualities, and aspirations, and will take you with him, on a journey to somewhere

Leaders need followers
Followers need a dream
Managers occupy a space

At the moment we are just imitating the stuff around us, but we need to own our own culture, develop a sustainable maintenance of heritage and intergenerational identity. And as yet there is no Māori business model that will lead us successfully into the future.

iwi need to move from a mindset of distribution of resources
to the creation of dynamic adaptation

[Invest for best rather than distribution]

where thought leaders challenge and innovate for what confronts us

Aha, needless to say, here is a man with serious vision, — a true leader sweeping us quickly along his journey.

Ara mai he tētēkura : visioning our futures edited by Paul Whitinui, Marewa Glover, and Dan Hikuroa. Published by Otago University Press.
In the various chapters of this book, a succession of young Māori academics: Amohia Boulton, Simon Lambert, Paul Whitinui, Megan Hall, Renei Ngawati, Reremoana Theodore, Marewa Glover, Melanie Cheung, speak of their thoughts and experiences for a new and emerging Māori academic leadership.
There was no difficulty in understanding and identifying with fieldworkers, and their themes of conflicting loyalties to iwi and institution, and, partnering with partners who haven’t bought into your vision or felt the need to share a vision, or indeed, the dangers of becoming compromised by others’ thoughts, without developing original ideas.
The speakers brought life to the chapters which they had co-written in Ara mai he tētēkura, and I urge you to seek out this book at your local library – or book shop.
But my attention was seriously derailed by the Megan Hall’s seemingly wild card reference to a blog by Alice Te Punga Somerville and her description of the palimpsest of moko on Rihanna’s hand. But there it was –a compelling example of layer upon layer of stories, of culture and history – and a need for every Māori academic developer to see and understand exactly what has been, and what now lies before their eyes.

A dance down Google land located Alice’s blog.

“… We talk now about places as palimpsests : the impossibility of engaging with any one account of history (either a story about history or its material proof) without noticing – even being distracted by – the many layers of history underneath. Rihanna’s hand is a palimpsest because it’s a surface on which has been layered many stories: a tattoo, another tattoo. However, each of those stories is itself and other story…”

She found culture in a hopeless place.

This is not really about Rihanna’s hand – what power could the small hand of a single Barbadian woman really have over us? – but it is about the many layers of history we cannot help but see when we look at her skin. And, as we ‘read’ each text, more texts become apparent: her African skin bearing the marks of Caribbean diaspora, the tattoo applied in Aotearoa, and finally a design applied in another (American-occupied, Spanish-speaking) part of the Caribbean which is apparently intended to look like the henna design which has its roots in the Indian subcontinent…”

This is a brilliant blog – by a brilliant young Māori academic leader. Please do click the link above and read the whole whakaaro.-

As for the rest of the speakers at the symposium – all so very interesting – you will need to locate the stream of the day’s kōrero –- hopefully on the Massey website.

The day concluded with a launch of a motivational flipchart which was “a compilation of a series of Manu Ao Academy Monday Motivational emails”(from the back page), and the three books on traditional and emerging issues and leadership. Selwyn Katene was a major author of the two books published by Huia Publishers.

Image from Huia Publishers
Image from Huia Publishers

Spirit of Māori Leadership by Selwyn Katene.
“The Spirit of Māori Leadership explores what leadership is, discusses different models and styles of Māori leadership, describes the qualities and approaches of Māori leaders and, using this knowledge, looks at the attributes and styles needed in future leaders. The book provides insights into and analysis of traditional and contemporary models of Māori leadership. From this, it identifies three connected themes: understanding what makes a good leader, the importance of people and relationships, and the need to formulate a strategic plan and examines four leadership models: transactional, charismatic, transformational and organic.” (From publisher)

Image from Huia Publishers
Image from Huia Publishers

He Kōrero Anamata: Future challenges for Māori by Selwyn Katene, and Malcolm Mulholland.
“This collection of essays by leading scholars – including academics and professionals from law, medicine, business and the social sciences – challenges our thinking on many fronts. The contributors draw on their research, knowledge and practical experience to address a variety of contemporary issues of importance to Māori. The topics explore identity and selfdetermination, the environment, te reo Māori, education, social and economic issues, and governance and leadership. Discussions reflect the many contexts within which new ideas arise and are then debated and explored, as well as the many ways in which knowledge can be created and shared. Throughout the book, Māori people, history, strengths, resources and circumstances are at the forefront.” (From publisher)

As the day drew to a close, we mingled for nibbles and drinks, bought our copies of the launched material, caught up with old friends and then departed for home, with more food for thought from an inspirational day.

Ko te kai a te rangatira he korero
The food of chiefs is eloquence

Ko te mahi a te rangatira ka whakatiratira nga iwi
The work of chiefs is uniting everyone

Ko te tohu o te rangatira, he manaaki
The sign of chiefs is respect