Our Ngāi Tahu Farming staff enjoyed a storytelling evening at Ōhoka School last month during which they engaged with tribal leaders about the history of the Ngāi Tahu Claim and listened to kōrero about the importance of the farms in terms of the tribe’s long-term aspirations.

Kaumātua Tā Tipene O’Regan and Trevor Howse explained the origins of the Ngāi Tahu Claim and how the farms were part of the history and journey of Ngāi Tahu.

Tā Tipene spoke of the complex challenges facing the iwi and how they had to be surmounted to ensure that the tribe endured in the landscape. He explained that the tribe had to continue to visualise its future. “We have to think about what we want to be and what we want to do to get there,” he said.

On a practical level, the iwi needed to increase the value of its net equity to match an ever increasing tribal population, but that was just one of the many challenges ahead.

Tā Tipene explained that the farms and everyone who worked there were integral elements of the machinery that would take the iwi forward. “Your job is to be caretakers of the whenua,” he said.

Tā Mark Solomon also spoke about the vision and aspirations of the iwi. He encouraged all the staff to keep training, no matter what their experience level. “Learning is life long,” he said.

Tā Mark also spoke about how important it was for the iwi to advocate for the proper management of freshwater and to continue to address the many issues that were arising as a result of ever increasing pressures on natural resources.

The final speaker was Ngāi Tahu Farming Board Chair Gill Cox who spoke about the need to look for continued improvement, including improvements around health and safety.

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