Better outcomes for young Māori at heart of leadership gathering

Wiremu Te Awe Awe gathers Māori leaders from all around Aotearoa to discuss how they can pull resources and better help Māori to be successful.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF/Stuff

Wiremu Te Awe Awe gathers Māori leaders from all around Aotearoa to discuss how they can pull resources and better help Māori to be successful.

Māori leaders have expressed concern for tamariki searching for a sense of belonging “on the streets” and say the key to their success lies in the story of past generations.

About 100 people from around New Zealand attended a hui at Te Rangimārie Marae in Rangiotū near Palmerston North on Saturday to find ways of establishing better outcomes for Māori.

Guest speaker Sam Chapman is a former New Zealander of the Year and the original chairman of Computer Clubhouse 274 in Otara, which provides mentors and technology to young people in underserved communities.

He has worked with the Mongrel Mob’s Notorious Chapter and has been credited with helping gang members better their lives.

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Guest speaker Sam Chapman says children will look for a sense of belonging, often in gangs.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF/Stuff

Guest speaker Sam Chapman says children will look for a sense of belonging, often in gangs.

Chapman said the key to building a thriving, modern community was to look at how ancestors managed life and how they coped with challenges.

“Because today with much of our religion we separate it from our life, and we do that because we have a mindset that God is holy, and we are over here, separated, because of our behaviour.

“That kind of thinking not only separates us from Him, but it separates us from each other.”

Chapman said he saw the impacts of social and economic issues like housing.

The session of more than 100 leaders begins with a waiata.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF/Stuff

The session of more than 100 leaders begins with a waiata.

He said when children had separation in the home they would look for it [a sense of belonging] in the streets, often within gangs.

“It’s a shift in the way we think, so instead of focusing on all the latest, fandangle ideas, we have sat down with our whānau and talked about what was successful in the past, and how do we do more of what works?

“Whanaungatanga works, manaaki works, aroha works, awhi works, we should do more of that.”

Rātana historian and author Keith Newman said the hui was an opportunity to ask what was happening in this time of change.

A staunch supporter of the Bible and Treaty of Waitangi, he said to better understand where Māori were going, people needed to look to the past.

“It’s about sharing our stories to find what common direction will lead us back to the river that provides inspiration, particularly for younger people.

“What’s going to get them excited about those stories?”

Newman said the world was fast moving, but he hoped they could collectively find ways to lead young people down a positive path.

“So they aren’t going to get involved in ram raids and wheels around the district, because they feel left behind, or that they don’t belong.”

He said the story of Te Rangimārie Marae, built in 1858 to commemorate peace between Ngāti Raukawa and Rangitāne, was a great place to start.

“The story of Te Rangimārie is one of peacemaking.

“It’s a beautiful story of coming together of different iwi, and hapū, who had issues at the time, and their making peace through the sharing of things like greenstone and intermarriages.”

Rangitāne kaumatua Wiremu Te Awe Awe said he invited other leaders to the marae because he wanted to find ways to help Māori thrive, and bring together a collective of te ao Māori and Wairua Tapu.

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