Well what a philosophical discussion from our future leaders at the September ZUI on Settlement and Rangatahi. The future looks bright when these future Whakatōhea leaders take the helm!
The ZUI was organised to give a voice to Whakatōhea rangatahi, to give them an opportunity to get involved and share their thoughts on what Settlement meant to them.
And what transpired was incredible. At the forefront of these discussions, wasn’t just the economic opportunities that will come with Settlement, or about what opportunities they could personally take advantage of, but first and foremost was the ability for the Iwi/Hapū/Whānau to heal and be happy and healthy.
The opening kōrero spoke about the energy put forward by whānau to support the process of Settlement. For almost 30 years it has taken an enormous toll physically and mentally on Whakatōhea.
In some instances, it has pitted whānau member against whānau member, and what these rangatahi articulated beautifully was the need to pause. Be aware of it and know that if Settlement is supported, that Settlement in itself will be a process where that energy that was once to divide, can now be used to bring us back together.
To get us to a place where we can heal. The starting point for many on this panel was, first and foremost, is we need to heal the mamae that this raupatu has caused.
Rangimarie Biddle: "Its like this settlement process takes up so much energy and our time, and we are literally fighting between each other about it, that we have no time or energy to focus on us".
The kōrero then turned to the health and wellbeing of the Iwi. What does that look like?
To these rangatahi, it was about identity. Knowing who they are and being unapologetic for that. The majority had the privilege to grow up in Ōpōtiki, and understand that because of this, they have a strong understanding of who they are and where they have come from. They are incredibly proud to call Ōpōtiki home.
Other rangatahi who grew up away from Ōpōtiki, yearn to know more and are on their own journey to discover exactly what it means to be Whakatōhea, and to belong to such a special rohe.
Piripi Baker: "I think of myself growing up in Canterbury. Having little to no tangible connection to my Whakatōheatanga. So I think it is about Whakatōheatanga, wherever you are around the motu. Having a sense of who we are and an ability to engage with who we are".
Whakatōheatanga formed the platform for what health and wellbeing meant to this roopu, having a strong identity was key to unlocking that connection. Because from there, health and happiness was about physical health and that connection with friends and whānau.
Marcelle Pio: "And on the back of Covid that became even more important to me, and I really had a look at how I spent my time, money and energy and it made the health of my whānau and my hapū/my iwi even more of a priority to me. Those are my absolute priorities in life".
We then we turned the discussion on to the economic opportunities that will come with Settlement. Those opportunities that no one takes for granted, but to this rangatahi roopu, that personal gain was secondary to the overall wellbeing and healing of Whakatōhea.
There is no doubt, that with settlement many opportunities will become available, as long as these economic ventures are conducted with a Te Ao Māori lens, and benefit not one entity but all of the tangata whenua that entity is responsible to, then they will tautoko all the way.
To see the full Rangatahi ZUI, click here