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Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
Earlier this month it was te Wiki o te Reo Māori and, appropriately, the Walking Access Commission Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa staff gather for their first weekly Te Reo Māori lesson.
The next morning everyone greets each other at their desk with ‘ata marie’, ‘mōrena’ and ‘kia ora’.
In July the Commission’s board and staff met to assess how it engages with Tāngata Whenua. External consultants facilitated the workshop and wrote a report with recommendations.
The Commission’s Tumuaki Ric Cullinane says the report shows that the Commission is heading in the right direction with its approach to partnership with Māori. But it can do more to increase its commitment, capability and capacity.
One of those next steps is staff sharing Te Reo Māori lessons.
Cullinane says the Commission wants to give effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi by:
- Providing advice on Māori interests as they relate to public outdoor access;
- Supporting Māori to regain access to wāhi tapu, mahinga kai and other traditional sites;
- Ensuring the Commission’s policies and procedures are consistent, where appropriate, with tikanga Māori; and
- Making sure the Commission looks for and incorporates Māori perspectives in its work.
“We know if we consistently engage with iwi we get more robust and lasting solutions to the work we do. And we connect better to people and communities,” says Cullinane.
Currently the Commission considers the special relationship, rights and interests tangata whenua have to land.
“It is part of our work,” says Cullinane. “But we can be more aspirational.”
We want to establish a framework that allows us to build and maintain partnerships with Māori in respect of public access matters.
He says this starts with the shared Reo lessons, enhancing staff understanding of Māori perspectives.