Ko ‘te amorangi ki mua’,
ko ‘te hāpai ō ki muri’
Tuatahi ki te Atua,
koia te tīmatanga,
koia ano te whakamutunga
o ngā mea katoa.
Tātai whetū ki te rangi,
mau tonu, mau tonu.
Tātai tangata ki te whenua,
ngaro noa, ngaro noa.
Ka hoki mai ki te mata ora.
Tatou kua hui mai nei
Thank you so much for your welcome to Richard and me today. We are very pleased to be here.
It is a great privilege to contribute to the korero today, as representative of our Head of State, His Majesty King Charles – and as a proud wahine of Te Tai Tokerau.
In my conversations with King Charles last year, he reiterated his deep respect for the mahi of New Zealanders committed to putting the interests of others and the environment above their own self-interest.
He is keen to visit Aotearoa and to learn what Matauranga Māori can offer in our efforts to establish a more sustainable relationship with the natural world.
When King Charles visited these grounds in 2019, he acknowledged wrongs of the past resulting from breaches of Te Tiriti.
Like others here today, I whakapapa to rangatira who gathered here 183 years ago to consider what Te Tiriti o Waitangi might mean for them.
In the years since, generations of New Zealanders have visited this special place. Prompted by the history witnessed here, they have reflected on our nation’s Treaty relationship, and how we might better manage our futures together.
The impact of colonisation on Ngapuhi, as chronicled in the recent report by the Waitangi Tribunal, will become part of the history studied by children in this region, thereby supporting wider understanding of Ngapuhi aspirations in the 21st century.
Here, on the mahau of Te Whare Runanga – we honour the prescience of Sir Apirana Ngata when he established this marae.
Sir Apirana saw the whare as embodying the mana and distinct identities of all iwi Māori of Aotearoa – and at the same time, celebrating the strength of purpose to be had through kotahitanga.
It is a kaupapa that has empowered national Māori organisations as diverse as the Māori Women’s Welfare League, the Iwi Chairs Forum, Te Matatini and Māori business networks.
It’s a kaupapa that requires respect for different histories and traditions, looks for common ground, shares expertise and experience, and harnesses collective energy in the pursuit of common good.
Kotahitanga empowers organisations across Aotearoa working to address the existential threats of our age, whether they be pandemics, environmental degradation, or rising sea levels.
It has been disheartening to see social trust erode when we need it to help us achieve a sustainable future.
We have seen how fear – stoked by disinformation – has caused some New Zealanders to feel themselves adrift and alienated.
It will be a tough challenge to restore and re-build trust, a sense of shared humanity and whanaungatanga.
The leaders who have inspired us most have often been masters of negotiation and peace-making.
They champion mutual respect, keep lines of communication open, and take care not to diminish the mana of others.
My sincere hope is that we can be guided by this thinking in 2023.
This can be our year of healing – when fractured families re-unite, when hope replaces fear, and New Zealanders turn their hearts and minds to using their power for good.
“Ko te kōrero a Tā Himi,
‘kua nui rawa te haere whakamua e kore e taea te hoki whakamuri,
he nui rawa o mahi, kia kore e mahi tonu.
tēnā tatou katoa.