Tā Tipene O’Regan: Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year

E tipu e rea mo ngā rā o tō ao
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau ā te Pakeha Hei ara mō tō tinana
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā tāonga a ō tīpuna Māori
Hei tikitiki mō tō māhuna
Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, Nānā nei ngā mea katoa

It is fitting, following the month of April, to celebrate the goals of, and awards bestowed upon Tā Tīpene O’Regan who relentlessly tackled head on, issues that confronted him and commanded his attention – be it a Tiriti claim, race relations, or other take. As his family said he was a man driven by issues rather than people.

“We must remember to remember – you can never have a vision of what you want to be unless you know where you’re from [to avoid] repeating the mistakes of the past.”

In the area of race relations he believes that Māori are here by right of their indigenous status and that all other peoples are here by right of Te Tiriti. He believes that we must continue to evolve and shape our view of New Zealand as we wish it to be. He is a man who did not fight for full reimbursement for all land lost – he had no wish to bankrupt the country in pursuit of an equitable monetary pay-out. The entire value of Treaty settlements over the past quarter of a century would cover superannuation payments for two months.

“I am concerned that in this great intersection of law and history, to which the Treaty and its outcomes have condemned us, we might begin to so devalue our past, that our history and tradition become mere opinion, blown by political winds and fanned by incessant gusts of media opportunism.’

He sought to invest and grow a putea in a way which would lift his people into an entrepreneurial economic future.

Last month Tā Tipene became the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year. His life and achievements are set out in the following online articles and videos:

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Wikipedia

Tā Tipene O’Regan: a life spent building a bicultural nation, via RNZ

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Kā Huru Manu

Tā Tipene O’Regan announced as Companion at 2019 Research Honours Aotearoa, via The Royal Society

Tā Tipene O’Regan on Indigenous 100

‘Tūtae in my letterbox’: The flak Sir Tipene O’Regan got for leading Waitangi settlement, via Te Ao Māori News

In pulling together details of Tā Tipene’s life, I find it distressing that whānau should become unwitting victims of harassment and behaviour by people demanding their right to freedom of speech (and action) in order to “punish” a parent’s determination to hold fast to a line of firm belief. As Tā Tipene says, in his stories, it was this side of his life which was most hurtful to his family.

Kōrero by Tā Tipene is available on our catalogue:

New myths and old politics : the Waitangi Tribunal and the challenge of tradition / O’Regan, Tipene
“Negotiating a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal can involve troubling challenges to an iwi’s legitimacy, sometimes from unexpected places. In this unique behind-the-scenes account of the negotiation of Ngāi Tahu’s Waitangi Tribunal claim, Sir Tipene O’Regan describes what happened when claims of New Age mysticism attempted to undermine traditional whakapapa and academic scholarship”–Publisher information.” (Catalogue)

New Myths and Old Politics is also available to read for free online via Bridget Williams Books.

 

 

 

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.
Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.