Nga Mihi o te Tau Hou from TangataWhenua.com #TeAoMarama2015

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Kia ora!

Here we are at the final week of 2014 and what an amazing year it has been for all whanau across Aotearoa me te Ao whanui. Tenei te mihi o te tau hou me te harirei o kirihimete.

MoewakaOur hearts weptat the loss of so many beautiful loved ones in 2014 and even today, we here at TangataWhenua.com want to acknoledgethe passing of whaea Moewaka Linda Morrison, the sister of HowardMorrison, Atareta Maxell and my own whaea Buncie Mitchell, whom I have served on the Te Arawa Standing Committee for the past 4 years. Whaea Moewaka was the leading light behind the local Rotorua publication, the Ohinemutu Informer, which in itself was a gem of local knowledge and community communication. She was very warm, generous and extremely witty, and will be sorely missed, as will many others who passed away this year. Moe mai, moe mai, moe mai ra e nga whanau mauri rere.

2014has been a hectic time for us, with our tamariki all attending school, work expanding and politics an ever present element. To that I would like to mihi to all who were involved in the 2014 General Election. What we noticed this year more than ever was the growing role of Maori voters and the increasing dissatisfaction that so many mainstream voters seem to have with the system. Yes, there were winners and losers but for us, it was that the sleeping giant of an emerging Maori demographic started to make its presence known, which will be seen again in 2016 with the local elections (the precursor to this will probably be the call for more Maori Wards, and the subsequent challenges against them, next year), in the 2017 General elections and most definitely the 2020 elections. If it is a waiting game, that date 2020 is when things will turn more in the favour of our young population.

TangataWhenua.com had an amazing year, starting with our continued support of the Digital Maori Forum at Ratana in January, our effortsin creating over 2 dozen websites for whanau, hapu, iwi, hauora, marae and PGSE’s, developing Digital Strategic & Communication Plans for Maori roopu and our continued sharing of positive Maori news. To that I must thank my partner-in-crimeNikolasa, our team Oryan McLean, Trish Francis, Lani Kereopa, the crew at SupraIT, the bro Hemi Bennett, our partners at GSL, Sue May, the wonderful Anna Dean, Col Heke, all of our tech support and our contributors Olly Ohlson, Mamari Stephens, Marama Pou, Kiwa Huata and so many, many others. All of my heart felt wishes to you and your whanau.

10486220_1442963309286122_3396037524169322350_nWhat I enjoyed this year was working wth talented teams to promote Maori films – in particular Taika Waititi and Chelsea Winstanley with What We Do In The Shadows, and mean thanks to@digitalharpyBrenda for the cool korero at Kiwi Foo and for hooking us up with Anna Dean. From there we worked on The Dark Night and then on The Dead Lands, where we got to host a WOM session in Rotorua and really impressed our mates, Meeeeean. Hope to get to do more movie promo’s next year.

At the same time, we have been busily talking about the huge reach we have in the Maori community and trying to decide what kind of exclusive new content we could be making for you. At the moment it is Interviews, Documentaries, Short Films and Web Series. What we saw with these Maori films is the genuine hunger to see ourselves on screen and to share it, to criticise, to write about it, to create new stories. The Disney movie on Moana should equally force us to define our own narrative and to bring our own versions of us to the screens, rather than watch others talk about us and get it so horribly wrong.

1977062_10151936868101759_1448243451_nWe would like to take the time to mihi to all 21 Iwi radio stations, our fellow Maori and Pacific Island radio presenters, to Maori TV, the teams at TVNZ, TV3, Prime, SKY and Freeview. There was also the transition we saw with Mana Magazine, which was interesting but also good as Derek is still there. Why I must mihi to Maori TV in particular is that they, and they alone, sought to talk about some of the big stories that have been swept under our Maori rugs for way too long. The dilemna we face is that TangataWhenua.com is all about sharing positive panui, uploading korero from the community and promoting local news. When we do so, it is because we love to share our stories with each other. Not all stories are positive but they must all at least come to the surface for a korero. So at this stage, we’ll leave it at that but next year, we are bringing on board a Council of Pukenga Kaumatua to help with such tikanga issues and will be working hard to keep your attention and to bring your more windows into our dynamic Maori world.

Our Facebook page has been growing steadily, with nearly 20,000 likes. What we have noticed here is that tagging people in is all the rage, that local pages like Rotorua Buy Sell have the scoop on all local stories way before any of the news agencies, that more kaumatua and pakeke have opened an account and that smart phones continue to dominate when it comes to accessing FB. Memes are still big and we anticipate videos coming into their own in 2015, just because it is so easy to pull a phone out and start recording, then edit, add a few effects and upload. TangataWhenua.TV maybe? Let’s see…

We are @digitalmaori on Twitter and the unprecedented korero around Ferguson and what has been happening in the States has kept Lasa busy. For me, the big show was around Chorus’s GIGATOWN and the efforts of Gisborne and their #gigatowngis campaign. It was amazing and demonstrated just how a rohe can work together for one kaupapa. Unfortuantely Gisborne did not win, but they did showamazing heart and if anyone is interested, check the hashtag to see all the amazing possibilities that exist for any town to harness and grow.

68173_10152407686146759_1260529285740009531_nThe growing opposition to the #NoTTPA campaign had whanau moving out on to the streets, and now with Statoil exploring up in northern waters, the internet can once more connect separated communities and bring people together in a common cause.

I want to talk about the elections but as many of you know, my party actually disappeared form Parliament, so it is best for me to just wish everyone who won a good 3 years and to my Mana Movement whanau, let’s keep going.

485632_10152393478621759_6766630338456702823_nIt seemed like Nikolasa and I attended an event a week. As exec members of Takiwai the Rotorua Maori Business Network, we held a workshop a month which was inspiring, and then we made sure that our kids dressed up and went hard at every possible chance (Halloween, the Day of the Dead gala at Te Koutu and the Santa Parade were some of my favs.)

We also had a lot of fun with whanau gaming – so much so that we attended Armageddon and a local Supra IT LAN with the Bay Federation of Gamers – and then took it one step further by opening an safe place for yougn programmers and gamers called DNA (Digital Natives Academy). We connected with the worldwide Hour of Code and had whanau over in the East Coast and Hawkes Bay join in too. DNA is set to grow across the motu so keep an eye out for that one, e te whanau.

It was cool to sit and learn with the crew from Googe Earth/Google Maps and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, and I was honoured to work with the Rotorua Homeless Trust and Treasure Rotorua. I will probably write a bit more about this later, considering that my tenure on the Te Arawa Standing Committee came to an abrupt halt and I still felt like there was lots work to be done.

1461133_10152284406681759_8247686356153080271_nOn a personal note, a highlight for me was standing with Waikuta Marae at the Ngati Whakaue Whakanuia. I know I had no time due to mahi but it was one of the proudest moments of my life. To stand with a whanau I came to love, to speak about tupuna who I knew a little about and to sleep in a whare that had played a big part in my early life; well, it was heartwarming and I loved it more that Lasa and my tamariki stayed with us. Tenei nga uri o Rakitu e!

Then there were the speeches at the #NoTTPA Rally, guest speaker at Hei Whai Nga Whetu, helping to organise the Maori Meet Up at NetHui 2014and a few more hui all over the show.

We made connections over in the Hawkes Bay, spoke in Hamilton, met whanau in Tauranga and shared a bit of TangataWhenua.com magic in Aucks and Welly. I think what people wanted to hear was how we made a living purely online, what it was like being a Maori in the work of IT and what were some of the challenges we faced.

1925319_10151898739011759_1483175214_nThe easy challenge was putea. For the most part, no one pays for positive Maori news on the internet. Outfits like iwi radio, Te Kaea, Te Karere receive enough to hire staff, rent equipment, pay for studios and buy petrol all to get the story. We get nuk. And it’s not from want of trying either. We find that most of the money is already apportioned to the existng giants and we are merely left in the shadows to to mahi aroha, while many others who get paid easily utilise our site, our networks and our work to compliment theirs. It makes me laugh knowing that we do for free and for love what others get paid thousands for. In my heart of hearts, it doesn’t seem right, and because we have no high level champions seemingly anywhere, we continue to share positive Maori news for free. Heoi ano – kei te mahi aroha nui tonu.

To counter act that though, we’ve pushed ahead with expanding our own business base, so in 2015, we will be doing a few new things. I don’t want to spoil the surpise but just to say that as 2015 is considered the International Year of Light, we will also be calling it Te Ao Marama 2015, as a way to celebrate our new look (if you haven’t noticed TangataWhenua.com underwent an upgrade last week) and have a few plans on the roll as we speak.

I would like to give a big shout out to Rotorua X and Darren McGarvey who accepted us onto their Incubator programme (from whereDNA emerged). The advice given there and the help and support arranged was very much appreciated. We want to do more in the Maori Start Up Space next year, and hope Te Puni Kokiri are still keen to do the same.

Also, many thanks to Geoff Rice and the whanau at Te Arawa FOMA for the continued support as our landlord, as well as Stewart Brown who has actively supported us since we moved form a At Home business to one in the city of Rotorua ( in a vain-glorious attempt to “control the centre of the board” lol).

So yes, that’s nearly us for 2014.

It has been another long hard year of whanau, mahi and mayhem. Our bills haven’t toally smashed us and our kids had a great year. They did really well at school and loved doing murumba and kapa haka. It’s their 2nd year and every year they get better. Atutahi is a senior next year so I’m hoping he will step up as kaitataki tane. We shall see. Hiona just loves to sing and swing her poi. If there’s anything I want to do is to help a little more with their reading, math, science and physical sport. We spent so much time inside doing work that it was too easy for them to do the same. Major props to Ms Butt and whaea Arihi Williams who really looked after the learning of our babies. Nga mihi e nga korua ataahua me Te Kurao Owhatiura hoki.

Next week, I want to look ahead to the year ahead.

There is so much happening and I want to make sure that we get a good head start. We kind of need to as we work onthe sniff of an oily rag. We have Ratana again coming up on January 25th (for Maori in ICT, the invitationis there for us to meet 2 days prior) and we have a whole host of events, concerts coming up over the next 3 weeks. That should be cool.

There’s Waitangi Day and then all the kura return around the end of Jan/beginning of Feb, before we anticipate Te Matatini 2015 down in Otautahi. That will be a major event.

So before I sign off for the morning, I’d just like to mihi to my sunshine, the person who made 2014 incredible, and that’s my wife and soul partner Nikolasa. We didso much together and it is in these times that I learn more about myself and why I love being in your company. Thanks for walkinginto the rodeo and choosing the craziest bull in the pen. We have had such an incredible year with our 2 tamariki and equally our wider whanau, and I look forward to doing more in the new year with you and with our babies. Love and light my heart.

Onward to 2015 – The Year of Light – Te Ao Marama e!

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1 COMMENT

  1. Nggaaww! Kia ora rawa atu ki a koutou o te Kapa Miharo (me ? koutou wh?nau)…ka nui te mihi aroha ki a koutou m? t? koutou pukumahi…kia pai hoki te tau e heke mai nei…

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