How can I contribute back to my Iwi? What role does the Runanganui play in creating opportunities to help that happen? These were some of the questions contemplated by a group of young Natis attending a two day hui in Gisborne at the end of April.
The hui was organised by Ngati Porou Seafood Group in conjunction with Te Putea Whakatupu (a Maori educational Trust funded by Te Ohu Kaimoana). Eight of the ten young Ngati Porou professionals were former recipients of Te Putea Whakatupu’s scholarship programme which had helped to support their studies while at university. Now developing their careers in a range of industries, the Ngati Porou alumni of the programme were invited by Ngati Porou Seafood Group to help kick start a conversation about how the present generation of Ngati Porou leaders can support the next generation to come through.
The agenda for the hui involved a trip up the Coast to Pakihiroa Farms, the farming operation of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou located on Mount Hikurangi. After the group visited the Pou on the maunga, they spent the afternoon in the station’s wool shed listening to presentations Pakihiroa Farms, Ngati Porou Seafoods Group and also other Ngati Porou business organisations who had supported the event: Ngati Porou Holding Company, Ngati Porou Miere and Ngati Porou Whanui Forests.
This session also provided the opportunity for the participants to introduce themselves and to indicate what their future goals and plans were. On their return back to Gisborne later that evening they enjoyed a formal dinner at Te Tini o Porou. The next day the group participated in a design-challenge workshop facilitated by Anne Gibbon from Callaghan Innovation and Stanford University’s Design School.
The workshop focussed around connection, belonging and identity – appropriate themes to consider when most of the group were representative of the majority of Ngati Porou who do not live within the rohe. At the end of the design challenge the group came up with the following statement about connectivity: “Ngati Porou needs Hikurangi in order to feel connected because that is my compass home and to the future”. This was quite a powerful statement and highlighted the strong connection they felt when they went up Hikurangi.
Luke Claasen (Te Whanau a Tuwhakairiora) was one of the alumni of the Te Whakatupu scholarship programme, who currently works in Auckland as a Junior Criminal Defence Lawyer. Luke says he felt humbled when he was approached to attend the hui. “We are very fortunate to have been asked to come back home and see how we can contribute to the future of Ngati Porou. We all have different ways we can contribute whether that be in our specialist areas, or culturally by supporting initiatives.”
Ken Houkamau, Project Manager at Ngati Porou Seafoods Group, helped to co-ordinate the hui. He found the young Ngati Porou professionals who attended were very talented individuals who genuinely wanted opportunities to connect and contribute to their Iwi, with many wanting to come back to the rohe to live and work.
“The original motivation for holding the hui was around succession planning-what can the economic units of the Runanganui do to create career development pathways and attract young Natis to be involved in our Iwi businesses. However it was apparent that for all the talk about the businesses, the group had a keen interest in the social initiatives of the Iwi. Next time we know that it will be very valuable to have the Ngati Porou social and cultural arms involved.”
“We would like to have on-going engagement with the group, as many have talents we could utilise in the future. We would also like to open up the conversation to involve other young Ngati Porou professionals and leaders from the Ngati Porou business community and social/ cultural sector.”
If you would like to join in the conversation about attracting and developing Ngati Porou talent or to find out more about the Te Whakatupu scholarship programme, please contact Ken Houkamau at Ngati Porou Seafoods Group.
Tel: 06 868 1644
Mob: 027 2566436