Kia ora whānau
This month we catch up with one of our inspirational rangatahi, Kiahi Horan (18 years old). Next week you will see Kiahi as one of our rangatahi panel members discussing his aspirations for Whakatōhea (so don’t forget to log in Wednesday 30th September to hear more from him), but here’s a teaser for what’s to come.
Kiahi went to school in Tauranga Moana where his whānau lives. He is on a full sport (water polo) and academic scholarship to La Salle University in Philadelphia, USA, where he will be majoring in Business Systems and Analytics, and minoring in Nutrition. Once he has finished his degree, he hopes to be able to support the growth of the Whakatōhea business ventures that will come out of Settlement. He was supposed to head State side at the beginning of August, but with the craziness that is 2020, he has started his degree online with the plan now to head over for the start of their Spring Semester in January 2021.
It has only been recently that Kiahi has started to take an active interest in Settlement. His mother Miranda has been instrumental in getting back their Hiwarau block of land that she grew up on, as well as playing an active roll in Settlement discussions and hui. During the July hui-ā-rohe rounds, Kiahi was lured with the promise of kai to attend, and it was there, that he started to understand the importance of Settlement and take an active role in participating in this kōrero. Kiahi is taking his time, listening and educating himself on Settlement, ideally with the view to connect back in the future when he is in better a position to help out.
When asked what Settlement means to him and his whānau, his outlook was philosophical.
“It means a lot. Mum has been working on getting our whānau land back and Settlement for years. I was too young to really understand what it all meant.
But by heading along to the hui, I could see that Settlement, and also getting our whānau land back isn’t just about me, its about my kids, and my grandkids and creating an awesome future for them. I can see it on our block of land now that we got it back. All the old fullas are living on it, but we are there cleaning it up, making it easy to access the water, making it look nice. Its great”
Kiahi sees jobs as a key benefit if Settlement is supported by whānau at ratification. He also believes that by getting land back, rangatahi will be able to connect back with their roots, for those whānau who haven’t had the luxury of being a part of their whenua and having been brought up in urban environments, this is an opportunity for them to connect back with their ancestry.
But from an Iwi perspective he’s hoping that Settlement can provide a way out of poverty for all Whakatōhea brothers and sisters.
He says “I’d love to see more jobs and helping our whānau increase their standard of living. I feel that māori are stigmatised, people see young māori and write them off. I hope that with Settlement and all the benefits that come with it, there’s an opportunity to change that perception. When they see our people, they see strong whānau and hapū orientated people.