The first combined Kura Maori language art exhibition has been held at Massey University. The inaugural event featured art pieces from around 60 year 7-10 pupils from Kura Maori from the district.
Te P?tahi-a-Toi, School of Maori Studies hosted the exhibition today and Wh?nau Ora Minister and co-leader of the Maori Party Tariana Turia was guest speaker.
The exhibition also acted as a process to select an art piece to promote the government’s health and social services policy Whanau Ora within the district.
For the past month pupils have worked hard on developing posters in Te Reo Maori using the theme of Whanau Ora (family wellbeing) as means of affirming those aspects that keep them and their family safe and well.
The genesis of the exhibition came from a collective subgroup of health services for M?ori as part of MidCentral Health’s family violence intervention programme, Te Reo poster project coordinator Tawhiti Kunaiti says.
The chosen posters from the exhibition will be printed and distributed to local Maori communities to acknowledge, assert and reinforce Wh?nau Ora as the means of intervening, deterring and preventing family violence, Mr Kunaiti said.
The total immersion Maori language schools were invited to submit artwork for the inaugural exhibition, and are from the Otaki, Palmerston North and Tamaki-nui-a-Rua localities of the MidCentral Health/Central Primary Health Organisation district.
Massey Professor Tai Black said the exhibition connects language and art, engages with students and creates pathways for the future. “We are building the next level of language and art champions,” Professor Black said. “It is a privilege and honour to host this Wh?nau Ora Te Kura Kaupapa Maori Te Reo-Art Exhibition.”
He said this type of initiative unites the community, kura kaupapa students and the University, bringing together distinctive forms of Maori knowledge. It introduces art and language into the Whanau Ora concept, and builds on the capacity of social, cultural visual arts and language revitalisation. “This is more than just an exhibition. It is an opportunity to transmit unique art and language forms to the next generation.”
Mrs Turia presented all awards and thanked pupils for allowing their work to be displayed. “In a way this is a world-first – artwork regarding whanau ora.”
She described the artwork as “out of this world” and said it signified how well pupils understood what whanau ora means. “It is wonderful that we are actively encouraging our rangatahi to engage with the kaupapa of Whanau Ora,” Mrs Turia said.
She was particularly taken with a poster by 14-year-old Te Amokura Harrison from Dannevirke’s Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Tamaki Nui-A-Rua, who described her painting as a harakeke (flax) representing different layers of family.
Co-leader (Maori Party) Tariana Turia speaking at the inaugural event:
Te Putahi a Toi, School of Maori Studies
Matai ki te rangi, tera ko Puanga, ko te tohu mo te tau hou
As one gazes at the heavens it is Puanga signalling the new year
No reira, nga mihi o te tau hou ki a katou katoa.
Ki te tangata whenua, nga mihi. Ki a Ta Mason Durie, Professor Taiarahia Black and Steve Maharey, Vice Chancellor tena koutou. Aa ki a tatou katoa kua huihui mai nei i tenei ra, tena koutou katoa.
I would like to acknowledge the many kura kaupapa who have come together today, and especially the tamariki who are here, and who have put forward their work.
- Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Rito
- Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tamaki-nui-a-Rua
- Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Mana Tamariki
- Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Manawatu
- Te Kura a Iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano
Matariki can be translated to mean ‘many eyes’ and whenever I think of this concept, I can’t help but turn my mind to the bright eyes of our rangatahi, so full of potential and energy. If Matariki is a time for reflection and planning for the year ahead, than surely our rangatahi are the true inspiration and anchor for our whakaaro.
No reira tena koutou tamariki maa.
I have been looking forward to coming to this event for quite a while. As you know Whanau Ora, is something that is very special to me, and it is a kaupapa that informs a large part of my work as a Minister, but also as mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother.
The kaupapa of Whanau Ora has come from our communities, it has been born out of our aspirations for the future of our children, and also in response to our journey towards collective wellbeing.
A couple of months ago, one of the great divas of song passed away – Whitney Houston. One of her waiata that remains her legacy is the song, “I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way”.
It is a message that I absolutely believe – and I truly believe that if we teach each other well, our future is in the best hands – our own.
It is about the principle of reciprocity – or perhaps more aptly – the concept of tuakana /teina. Whanau Ora is driven by this philosophy – that we must uphold our collective responsibilities to care for our own and take up our obligations towards one another.
What is exciting to me, is that today, I get to see and to hear what Whanau Ora means to our rangatahi. You have been asked to develop a piece of art that shows your perspectives on the theme “Whanau Ora: Kia ora ai te whanau”.
I am really looking forward to seeing into your world, to understand how Whanau Ora operates through the leadership of our next generation.
Whanau Ora, at its very heart, is simply about whanau wellbeing.
There is no one definition of Whanau Ora, so rangatahi ma, you really have started with a blank canvas. The shape that your artwork has taken, will be inspired by your unique experiences, your world view, your values, our tikanga and matauranga – no pressure, but today is about you, and seeing and hearing your views on our future.
Last night I attended a dinner celebration in Whanganui, which brought together teachers and educators from across our rohe to talk about supporting the Maori Health Workforce Development programme.
It was an opportunity to talk about how important our rangahauraro – our rangatahi – are to supporting our collective health outcomes in the future, and also to talk about Whanau Ora, and what this will mean for our future health workforce.
It is my hope, that Whanau Ora will drive the transformation we seek to empower our whanau; to put whanau back in the driver’s seat of their own development; and hopefully remind us all, that whanau are the ones who have the ultimate control over their own destiny.
Why? So that our children, and our mokopuna can have an even brighter future. So that our whakapapa is protected, and so that with each generation we move from strength to strength to strength. We must remember why we continue the work we do – and it is for our mokopuna.
We talked last night about the need for more young Maori to be choosing health related careers, and discussed how these jobs may change in the future given the way that Whanau Ora may impact on the system. These are important conversations to have.
But perhaps the most important issue for me when considering the future of our collective wellbeing, is ensuring that we have guardians in place who will keep our whakaaro, our kaupapa and our philosophies safe. That we have generations of our rangatahi who understand what Whanau Ora means to them, what it meant to us, how it works, and what is needed in order to keep it safe.
Of course, we are organic people, and I don’t expect that we will see the same tomorrow, as we do today – however, I do want to know that the rootstock of our whakaaro are born of us, are born of our tipuna, and are born from rangiatea.
So today is a special day for me, I am looking forward to seeing your mahi. I am looking forward to taking what I learn back to parliament, to talk about it with other Ministers, and other MP’s and to work towards protecting our kaupapa that when it is your turn to take it over, it will be a strong, healthy, and flourishing kaupapa that will positively impact on the lives of our many whanau of the future.
To the many providers who have made this event possible, MidCentral Health, Public Health Services, Central PHO, and Massey University – I thank you.
Thank you for bringing us all together today, and thank you for giving our rangatahi an avenue to communicate their thoughts, their experiences and their wawata for the future.
Finally, I leave the hui in good hands – yours.
Ko te rangahauraro te kupenga mo apopo.