Fenella Craig, daughter of Shonamarie O’Brien and Paul Craig, and granddaughter of Eva Waterreus, has graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Victoria University in Wellington.

Fenella has now moved to Auckland where she is working at the Lion head office. Thanks to Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana and Te Rūnanga o Moeraki for their support.

Fenella Craig.

Time to grow, time to go

Oh dear, as I look down at my middle, I see that over the previous weeks, I have been indulging myself. Today is a day for taking myself into account. I need to make a date with a diet and its best friend, exercise.

We are not often encouraged to look at the past for learning but the past has some pretty strong indicators on how we should be living today.

I have my name in the blue book. Is that enough? Not really, because to understand who I am today, I need to acknowledge that I have been influenced by past events and my whakapapa. Like yesterday’s meal – I don’t often sit down and spend time reflecting on what was wholesome and good, and what food am I carrying around my middle like unwanted baggage. Sometimes I don’t even appreciate the efforts of the people who worked to put the food on my table.

Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana are planning a hīkoi to Te Waipounamu to give our whānau the opportunity to experience their culture firsthand, to meet with whānau who still live there and to hear the kōrero of our ancestors. The purpose is to grow and strengthen our cultural identity, so that in turn, we can pass this on. It’s a bit like rugby in our house. Some are passionate about the game but to others, the game is boring and a waste of time. My son says if you do not understand the lingo, the rules or the efforts of the players, you will never be able to love the game. He keeps encouraging me to take the time to learn.

Are you passionate about your Ngāi Tahu identity, lukewarm or cold? We warmly invite you to come to our hui every two months at the Tauranga Boys College wharenui, Aronui, and we encourage you to come on a hīkoi to learn about your ancestral roots in Te Waipounamu. The trip will last for three fun-filled, action-packed days.

It is a longtime dream of our kaumātua Uncle Joe Briggs, to pass on the knowledge of his generation to the next. He is very aware that many of us in the Tauranga rōpū do not have strong connections. We hope that you will gain a new respect for the early pioneers, and value some of the things that they valued. We want you to come away with whakawhanaungatanga, kōrero and kupu to incorporate into your daily lives.

I love statements that are obvious, like ‘I know what I know’ and ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’ Personal growth always pushes you into the unknown, beyond your comfort zone. Growth and knowledge stretch you.

To me the pāua shell is very symbolic. From the outside it can look unappealing and unwelcoming. However, that is the outside. On the inside, the different colours come together, swirling and mingling to form an object of beauty. A community project can look like that. We are the colours, each of us unique with individual strengths and talents. When we celebrate achievement together the bonds of community are formed and strengthened. We are a people with a common whakapapa.

On our journey south, as we celebrate and explore our past, we will share and learn with one another. This sharing binds us together. Our community will be richer for it, because we will be richer for it. Faces once passed in the street will no longer be those of strangers; they will be whanaungatanga. I will know them and they will know me. Why? Because I chose to invest my tāima and pūtea to be with them.

The trip we are planning will appeal to those with limited knowledge of their Ngāi Tahu whakapapa. Naturally we will have with us, people with experience who have aroha, knowledge and a desire to fill in the gaps, (people like Uncle Joe). Come with what knowledge you have, wallet size, suitcase or cargo size.

If you are interested in this amazing hīkoi please contact me, Anna Were. I work at United Travel Tauranga ph 07 5779957; or email [email protected] or [email protected]. I am coordinating this trip for our rōpū. The proposed dates are 4-7 October 2014. I can email you details and cost. Alternatively you can email our secretary at [email protected].
Nau mai haere mai, Anna Were, Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga committee member.