Our hui

On 17 August, we held our Ngāi Tahu ki Tauranga Moana hui at Tauranga Boys’ College. It was a beautiful day and a bumper crowd attended to listen and welcome our guest speaker, Uncle Terry Ryan from the Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa Unit.

Anna Were reported on the planned hīkoi south, an exciting opportunity to learn about our ancestors and Ngāi Tahu history. The trip is now virtually signed and sealed but for those who missed out, save your pennies because Anna says it could be the forerunner of more trips to come.

Laurie Loper reported that a meeting is to be held in the near future between Tā Mark Solomon and Dr. Adrienne Alton-Lee. Laurie first met up with Dr. Alton-Lee when she was a co-researcher alongside the well-known learning researcher, the late Professor Graham Nuthall.

Adrienne also works with the chief education adviser and the Ministry of Education and she heads a small but very effective Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) programme which is producing very well-regarded, teacher-friendly resources. These resources have already been shown to boost the performance of Māori students.

We are hoping for good outcomes once Tā Mark Solomon and Dr. Adrienne Alton-Lee meet. The effectiveness of the BES programme can be judged by the fact that it has already fielded 7000 inquiries including some from overseas.

A local intermediate school, that uses the BES materials, was recently awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for educational excellence. Chair Huey reported on an education initiative that he and Laurie are aiming to progress, which may also benefit Māori students. Uncle Joe Briggs gave his tautoko to the educational initiatives that are being undertaken.

Continuing on the theme of education, chair Huey drew attention to the recent honour that was bestowed upon Fred Newton by Tauranga Boys’ College whose wharenui, Aronui, is our meeting venue.

Fred was made a life member of the school, the tenth person ever to receive the honour. In response to our pakipaki, Fred had a wry comment or two to make about his 27 years and one term as head of the science department at the school.

With the business of the day attended to, we turned our attention to Uncle Terry, who is such an entertainer. He obviously missed a career in stand-up comedy because he had us all in stitches.

His legendary knowledge of, and aroha for, whakapapa was in full display – vintage Terry. He gave us a sense of how he felt during the earthquakes and how they impacted him in regards to his mahi around whakapapa. He told us how he tried to keep the records intact and safe throughout the temporary refuges. He spoke of the impact that computer technology has had on his role. Each point he made was tied to an amusing story, selected from his vast library of memories.

Huikakau Kawe presented Uncle Terry with a taonga, a piece of tūhua (obsidian) mounted on a worked base, something personal to him that he can keep on his work desk close to his beloved whakapapa. It’s a taonga that carries the mauri of our rōpū and one that serves as a reminder of how highly we regard him at Tauranga Moana.

At close of the day, Uncle Joe reminded the gathering that their presence was required at the next bi-monthly hui, as we will all need to attend a pōwhiri and welcome our next guest speaker Arihia Bennett, chief executive officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

The next hui is set for Sunday 19 October, at Tauranga Boys College wharenui and will begin at 1pm. All whānau are welcome to attend. Nā Laurie Loper.

Uncle Terry Ryan speaking to whānau at the Tauranga bi-monthly hui with Chair Huey Rurehe seated.

Uncle Terry Ryan speaking to whānau at the Tauranga bi-monthly hui with Chair Huey Rurehe seated.

Whānau starting to arrive for the bi-monthly hui.

Whānau starting to arrive for the bi-monthly hui.