Matariki holiday heralds a bright new dawn for Aotearoa

Professor Meihana Durie is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University.

OPINION: Te Mātahi o Te Tau, the Maori New Year, was ushered in with unprecedented levels of engagement and turnout, also coinciding with the first annual Matariki public holiday.

It also signals the next chapter in an incredible rebirth and recovery of a kaupapa that bears immense cultural, celestial, social, and environmental relevance.

In a Maori New Year well and truly marked by important firsts, this Friday marks the start of Te Mana Hauora Māori, the Maori health authority.

For over 100 years, successive Maori health leaders have fought tirelessly for transformative health approaches to better protect and improve Maori health.

READ MORE:
* First look at Rena Owen as Dame Whina Cooper
* Wāhine Māori leadership shows a way forward for Aotearoa
* The rise of Maori art makes Matariki a special time of year

Hautoni Taufa, 8, shows off her temporary tā moko at the Puanga Twilight Festival in Palmerston North, which takes place on the Matariki public holiday.

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

Hautoni Taufa, 8, shows off her temporary tā moko at the Puanga Twilight Festival in Palmerston North, which takes place on the Matariki public holiday.

It is a system that has proven insufficient to meet the critical health needs of Maori, but which on its own meets the highest health aspirations of Maori, a reality evident in all measures. comparative health statistics.

The decision to restructure and reset the system could have been made decades earlier if previous governments had been able to move beyond the unnecessary complexity of a health bureaucracy.

Te Mana Hauora Māori represents part of a larger reset, which will most importantly allow Māori to best determine the nature of health care delivery so that whānau can enjoy good health and in doing so, finally eliminate the severity of health inequalities.

In another first, the Māori All Blacks played Ireland for the first time on Wednesday night, delivering a stunning performance that spoke to the indomitable spirit of Maori rugby, a heritage that has its origins in the leadership of Joe Warbrick and of the New Zealand team. of 1888.

Meihana Durie, pictured addressing the Manawatū District Council in 2021, is Deputy Vice Chancellor of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University.

David Unwin / Stuff

Meihana Durie, pictured addressing the Manawatū District Council in 2021, is Deputy Vice Chancellor of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University.

Aotearoa will also host the Women’s Rugby World Cup this year, thanks in large part to the leadership and advocacy of former players and champions such as Professor Farah Palmer and Melodie Robinson.

It is worth remembering that it was in 1999 that Dame Hinewehi Mohi first performed the Maori verse of the national anthem during the Rugby World Cup semi-final at Twickenham. His performance was widely praised, but derision from some who could not agree the verse was worthy of inclusion.

Lady Hinewehi’s courageous act that day finally set in place a new normal and expectation that endures to this day.

Hinewehi Mohi caused controversy at an All Blacks match at Twickenham when she sang the national anthem in te reo.

Simon Young

Hinewehi Mohi caused controversy at an All Blacks match at Twickenham when she sang the national anthem in te reo.

On the leadership front, Dame Whina Cooper’s amazing legacy is the focus of a recently released feature film. Whina, directed by James Napier Robertson and Paula Whetu Jones and produced by Tainui Stephens and Mathew Metcalfe, is a phenomenal cinematic experience.

Each scene and each image draws the viewer further and further into the world occupied by Dame Whina, with her remarkable leadership brought to light by Miriama McDowell in a most extraordinary performance. Likewise, all of the supporting actors, including Rewa Owen and Vinnie Bennett, are nothing short of exceptional.

Another important film heading our way is Muru, directed by Te Arepa Kahi and produced by Reikura Kahi, which explores the harrowing impact on the people of Tūhoe following the 2007 police raids.

Muru shines a light on the Tūhoe experience of this dark chapter in the nation’s history and promises to be a compelling piece of Maori cinema.

In another first, this year the national history curriculum for schools was revamped to become Te Takanga o Te Wā. A crucial step if future generations of New Zealanders are to understand the full picture of our history.

Te Takanga o Te Wā will hopefully better ensure that the totality and accuracy of our nation’s history is taught to all students and that specific parts of our history are no longer left out.

Understanding the profound extent of loss, oppression and pain that Maori have endured from generation to generation is only possible if our full history is taught and so there are high hopes for this new curriculum.

And now, for the first time, we celebrated the start of Matariki with a holiday. A watershed moment for Aotearoa, it also sends a vital message to the world about the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, cultures and knowledge on this planet.

“These moments in time are the essence of our national identity,” Sir Pou Temara said at a Matariki milestone event at Te Papa in Wellington.

With the growing threat of environmental devastation, intercontinental warfare, deepening social injustices and economic chaos, there is much to be gained from putting faith in Indigenous leadership and wisdom.

The words of Professor Sir William Pou Temara in his speech at Matariki last Friday at Te Papa, now sound deeply prophetic: “Today is a moment in time. It’s a moment that future generations will look up to and say it’s when we came of age.”

History has proven that change for Maori can be painfully and sometimes excruciatingly slow. Yet when change happens, it can reset our future and fulfill it with the utmost optimism.

For all the challenges faced in the past, we should all be proud of the Aotearoa we have built for the future.

Manawatia in Matariki.

James C. Tibbs