Ngā mihi hui to Ngāti Whakaue for a fantastic wāngana at Ohinemutu Marae in Rotorua. Inspirational stories and fantastic educational initiatives. We have a lot to learn. They have developed ex. Science units based on local stories, resources and knowledge.
We listened to young Maori students who are fluent in Te reo, globally connected, proud of who they are and their whakapapa, and who intend to make the most of every learning and achieving opportunity. Many already had achieved at the top of the academic scale and we're heading into prestigious jobs.
There were also entrepreneurs who have won international competitions and set up businesses around the globe. What I loved is that many had come home to give back to their iwi.
Learning the history from tangāta whenua was once again challenging and emotional. We have lots to tut tut about over the effects of paternalism and colonialisation in other countries, but there's a distinctly rotten odour in parts of our history too.
Our children need to know about social justice. This is the story of us, not just the story of them over there.
I had a similar experience in New Plymouth last year at the Marae in Waitara in Parihaka country. Thank God there were some Christian missionaries and just straight out good people, who were honest, loving and true to their faith or values who were not prepared to stand by and watch the decimation of iwi, their language and culture.
It was such a privilege to join with principal colleagues from across NZ who are a part of the MAC initiative. Our kahukura cluster principals have such a heart for Maori achievement and this initiative is all about changing hearts and minds.