Nāia te tangi kau o te iwi e matapōrehu ana ki ngā mate huhua o te wā. Ngau kino nei te iwi whānui i te korenga, i te wehenga atu o tērā rangatira o tātou, o te Upoko Rūnanga o Ngāi Tūāhuriri, a Henare Rakiihia Tau. Kei taku ihorei, kei te mātanga manaaki tangata, waiho atu mātou ki konei hei hopo mōhou. Ka noho koe i te pū mahara, ā, e kore rawa e wareware i a mātou āu mahi katoa mō te whenua, mō taonga tuku iho, ā, mō te iwi whānui hei hāpai i ngā uri whakatipuranga. Nāhau te ara i para kia eke ai tō iwi ki te keokeonga o tō tātou ariki a Aoraki. Nō reira e ngā tini aituā, hanatū rā ki te kāinga wairua i te rangi, ki a Ihoa o Ngā Mano. Okioki mai rā. Tātou ki a tātou e hora nei, e tautau nei te ahi i te kāinga, mauri ora ki a tātou.

Matariki celebrations were held across the country recognising the Māori New Year. Matariki is also a time for us to reflect and remember those who have passed away during the year.

This year as we entered into a new Māori New Year, we also celebrated the life of Henare Rakiihia Tau NZM, Upoko Rūnanga o Ngāi Tūāhuriri who passed away on 30 June.
The multitudes ascended onto Tuahiwi Marae to pay their respects to Rik. There was a lot of crying and laughter as people reflected on their times with Rik and the work they did with him.

Rik was one of the many kaumātua who set us on the path to regaining our tribal footprint on this land, enabling us to build our resources and breathe life into our vision and aspirations for our people. In 1986, Rik filed a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal on behalf of the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board and Ngāi Tahu Whānui. He was a lead negotiator with the Crown for the 1998 Ngāi Tahu Settlement, and played a key role in the establishment of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. He reminded us of our on-going responsibility to defend and protect our statutory rights, as Ngāi Tahu, for future generations. Rik was regularly in and out of the office assisting and advising staff on projects, particularly with the Ngāi Tahu Fund, of which he was a board member. We will be forever grateful for his guidance and the wisdom he provided over the years. Our aroha is with the Tau whānau and Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga.

It was a pleasure to support Minister Gerry Brownlee and Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel with the public announcement of the Canterbury Earthquake memorial site. The memorial will acknowledge the trauma shared by the people of Canterbury and provide somewhere to reflect on the damage and loss of life. The memorial will also recognise those brave people who participated in the rescue and recovery. The site is on a stretch of the Ōtākaro (Avon River) in the city between the Montreal Street Bridge and Rhododendron Island.

Last month Tā Tipene O’Regan and I travelled to Tokyo to present a tokotoko to Masashi Yamada and his lieutenant, Yoshikazu Narimoto. Mr Yamada, a Japanese philanthropist and businessman, extended a lifeline to Ngāi Tahu in the early 1990s while the tribe waited for the result of its Waitangi Tribunal hearing. The lifeline came in the form of a series of multi-million dollar loans that enabled the tribe to continue with Te Kerēme. The deal was sealed by a handshake with Tā Tipene.

In 2001 Mr Yamada gifted a substantial amount to the tribe, which was used to set up the Ngāi Tahu Mātauranga Trust to fund the Yamada-O’Regan scholarships. With us on our trip was Dr Graham Kitson, who has whakapapa connections to Awarua through his father. It was Graham who first introduced Mr Yamada to the tribe, although he didn’t realise at the time how important that introduction would be. I also met Mr Yamada’s son, Shinji, who is keen to continue the family’s relationship with Ngāi Tahu.

Another significant relationship we celebrated earlier this month was the Whanganui River Settlement. We travelled to Ranana Marae on the banks of the Whanganui River for this auspicious occasion. I absolutely enjoyed my day with the Whanganui people, celebrating their achievements and remembering those who are no longer with us – those who put so much of their life into the claim. Congratulations to the Whanganui people. We look forward to seeing this new phase advancing.

The Ngāi Tahu roadshows are in full swing with hui held already in Auckland, Tauranga, Hastings and Taranaki. Next on the August schedule are Wellington, Arowhenua and Christchurch; with Kaitaia, Dunedin, Bluff and Te Tai Poutini scheduled in September. If you happen to be in any of these places we would love to see you there. Bring your whānau for a catch-up and be updated on what the office has been up to in the last 12 months.

It’s that time again, where New Zealanders will determine who will run the country. It’s great to see a few Ngāi Tahu whānau campaigning to be elected into parliament this year and we wish them all the best for their respective campaigns.

I’m encouraging all our whānau, especially our rangatahi, to get out there and vote. The power to determine our destiny lies with us, and our vote. Please take the time to look at the different candidates and their party’s policies, and make sure you vote on Saturday 20 September. For information about this year’s elections go to, www.elections.org.nz