Iwi: Te Rarawa
Qualifications: NZ Chartered Accountant, Graduate Diploma of Commerce, Bachelor of Commerce, currently studying towards Diploma in Te Reo Māori
Kia hiwa ra, kia hiwa ra, kia tu, kia oho, kia matara!
Absolutely awesome year! I have been challenged, schooled and even though I have done this year learning te reo Māori I realise this is only the start of my journey in seeing the Ao Māori.
Prior to the start of the year I spent the last 8 years in London working as a qualified charted accountant in the largest global banks which have gone through unprecedented change since the Global Financial Crisis. As part of this experience I got to see the sharp edge of banking culture where under performance can quickly see you out the door. During my time in London my wife, Bella and I did a lot of travel going to places like Egypt, Petra, Dubai, Romania, Spain, Cyprus and Sweden. In these places you really get to see other cultures and experience seeing how different people can look, they way the act, their predicament and the way they speak. This coupled with the banking culture experience you really appreciate that you are different and cultural identity is a key foundation of who you are.
The challenge for me is that I know I am Māori but I can’t speak Māori and you will see my side step when ever there is question on Tikanga e.g. karakia, mihimihi, powhiri etc. This hole in my identity led me the Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato.
My wife and I choose the Whare Wānanga o Waikato because of its reputation and the reputation of programme Te Tohu Paetahi as a leader in its offering.
During this course the things I have enjoyed most are the surprises. For example when I realise one day “damn I’m writing in Māori!” or “Oh yeah I just did my mihi in Māori with out sounding too fresh”. The other surprise has been that I am more enlightened of the challenges of our tūpuna by learning about the history of te reo Māori, understanding more about land confiscations and the emergence of the Kingitanga.
The key challenge for me this year is getting my head right. To come in each day and say I am the only one that can make this happen. I am going to make the most of this opportunity. While this sounds simple enough there are plenty of distrations to take you off course. I often found my self not understanding what was being said in the class lesson and not motivated. The problem with this is I am the only one who can make it happen. This is where getting your head right is the biggest challenge. I can’t let myself get overwhelmed I need to step back and look at the big picture and break it down it to smaller bits I can manage. Now that I have done that its all about time and how I manage my time to learn those small bits so I can keep up with the rest of the class. Aue!
Now that I am at the begining of my journey I want to challenge myself to develop into a awesome speaker of te reo Māori and fully appreciate my Māori identity. I want to teach my children (Graham, Atiria-Grace and Atilini) to speak Māori so to can fill the whenua with our Tūpuna language!
My career aspirations is to work in a Māori business that supports te reo Māori where I can use my skills as an accountant to help realise the aspirations of that organisation and for the benefit of Māori.
Special acknowelgement to my lecturers Matua Ēnoka and Whaea Sophie they are great lecturers!