As a service, PAUA started 2019 with a focus on “Whanaungatanga”. You may be wondering what that means – the online Māori Dictionary has this definition:
1.(noun)relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. It develops as a result of kinship rights and obligations, which also serve to strengthen each member of the kin group. It also extends to others to whom one develops a close familial, friendship or reciprocal relationship.
So this is about “establishing relationships through cultural respect, connectedness and engagement” and “maintaining them in a meaningful, holistic way”.
What can that look like for PAUA Visting Teachers and Head Office Staff? How can we show that in our relationships with each other as well as our PAUA Educators and Families? How does that fit with creating a PAUA culture where children have a sense of belonging and respect is shown for their cultural, spiritual and family of origins’ values? And where does all this fit in the wider context of Aotearoa?
And now today we have a public holiday, which by its very nature I believe gives us a reason to look at how well we are developing whanaungatanga as a nation.
6th February 1840 was the day that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British representatives and 500 Māori chiefs. The intent may have been for this to be a partnership between two nations, but the reality has been very different and I believe that we still have much address for this to truly work. Where do I think this needs to start? With our children… and PAUA has an opportunity to be part of this as we partner with our Educators to provide the best learning environment for our children.
We have PAUA children throughout most of Aotearoa, including in Northland where the Treaty was signed. While PAUA isn’t going to be present this year, over the past few years we have been part of the Waitangi Day celebrations with a stall in the entertainment area. While being at the celebration I’ve also started the day at the Dawn Parade at the Treaty grounds. For me an incredibly moving and special service. It certainly made me reflect on “He iwi tahi tātou – We are now one people” and more importantly how can we truly reflect this in PAUA.
Of course, this day is not just celebrated at Waitangi. Throughout New Zealand there will be celebrations marking the day. This year Tony and I have been invited to Government House in Wellington to attend the Bledisloe Garden Reception. This reception commemorates Lord Bledisloe, Governor-General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935, who purchased the grounds in Waitangi where the Treaty was signed, and then gifted them to the nation. Tony saw an advertisement last year inviting people to apply to go into a ballot for invitations to attend, and we received an e-mail just before Christmas formally inviting us. I look forward to seeing how it will be celebrated there and what will be said by the leaders there.
With the signing of the Treaty in 1840, Māori and Pākehā began a journey where we agreed to create a nation together. We have a way to go, but every day we get to choose whanaungatanga, to choose to develop and deepen our relationships in meaningful ways.
And so the journey continues – and it involves not only our PAUA whānau but everyone living in this country.
“Ko ngā pae tawhiti whāia kia tata, ko ngā pae tata, whakamaua kia tina”
~The potential for tomorrow depends on what we do today~