Festivities have marked the 10th anniversary of Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato Kīngitanga Day, and 160 years of the Kīngitanga Movement.
The day celebrates the unique relationship that the University has with the Kīngitanga, Waikato-Tainui and the 19 iwi of Te Rōpū Manukura. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai opened the formal section, acknowledging the Movement and saying that it is not exclusively for Māori, but draws on allies all around the world.
A korowai for all people
The keynote speaker Rahui Papa picked up the theme saying Kīngitanga is not just for Māori, it is a korowai for all people.
“In 1858 the Kīngitanga was formed to buck the trend,” said Papa. “It was a political response to what was happening to Māori at the time.”
He said throughout the King Movement’s 160 year history, reigning monarchs have had multiple positive encounters with world leaders, from King George V to the Pope, to gain support for the movement.
But despite the movement’s political origins, the Kīngitanga has become a symbol of strength, unity and manaakitanga for indigenous people around the world.
“Kīngitanga became higher than any political agenda, or religious agenda or even cultural agenda.”
Papa said this was best demonstrated when then Māori Queen Dame Te Ātairangikaahu met with the Dalai Lama in Tibet, despite her father King Korokī having previously met with China’s Chairman Mao Zedong years earlier, presenting him with a korowai.
Tūrangawaewae marae at Ngāruawāhia, the home of the Kīngitanga, has also hosted its share of dignitaries and monarchs including Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales, Nelson Mandela and former US President Bill Clinton, as well as monarchies from many Pacific nations.
“These relationships, especially with our Pacific neighbours, have been vital for the longevity and success of the Kīngitanga.”
Seven scholarships for seven leading young wahine toa.
Kīngi Tūheitia spent the afternoon taking part in the celebrations on campus, including attending the presentation the scholarships named after his mother Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Seven University of Waikato students have this year been awarded the Waikato Regional Council and Waikato-Tainui honors.
Leading into the presentation Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai told those gathered she was herself had been recipient of one of the awards, and had the honor of having it presented by Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu herself. She spoke about supporting the new awardees through their education, but also the importance of mentoring them to be leaders of the future.