I was fortunate to be nominated to attend this leadership programme, I guess someone sees something in me that I haven’t seen perhaps. I will participate in three wānaka that will be held in different locations around Te Waipounamu. Our first wānaka was held at Tuahiwi Marae while Christchurch was being ravished with fire. Initially we were unclear this hui would go ahead as Tuahiwi had put the tono out and was to be a safe place for any refugees evacuated from their homes. On the day the hui was to start, we received a text saying that fortunately no more evacuations had happened and we were to meet at Tuahiwi.

During the wānaka, I was captivated by the source of knowledge that our tribe holds within our tangata whenua. Trying to soak up every word that was spoken as I wrote quotes and phrases down, glancing at the new resources I was given and enjoying the new “lateral whakapapa connections” I was making with all the other wānaka participants/whānau.

One of the many things that really stuck out for me was that “to know where you are going, you must first know where you have come from”. Hence this particular wānaka was about our history as Ngāi Tahu and the Settlement which is only one chapter of Ngāi Tahu but granted, a very important chapter of the tribe. And that each generation has its own cause, so what will be ours? For myself, I believe that we need to be “cultivating our culture”. And as I am not a te reo speaker, my task is to learn, speak and show more of my culture so that I may teach my tamariki. “To feed the mind, you must also feed the body”. So chur to the whānau at Tuahiwi for the mean feeds during the weekend – I am still talking about them too! I could talk more about this humbling experience I was lucky to be involved in but Te Pānui Rūnaka probably will not want to publish my novel. Just know that I have come back inspired about my hapū and iwi and inspired by the possibilities and prospects that the future holds for us all.
Nā Rachael Forsyth.

Manawa Tītī 2017 at Tuahiwi Marae.

Manawa Tītī 2017 at Tuahiwi Marae.

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