The message from whānau who attended regional hui across the motu in 2019 was consistent, clear and emphatic:
“Trade is important for Māori.”
“Don’t muck around, and don’t muck it up.”
“Get on with it.”
These words and directions from our whānau have continuously resonated and guided the mahi of Te Taumata this year, says Te Taumata Chair, Chris Karamea Insley.
“I heard a sense of urgency from our whānau, which has been directly conveyed to Government and all trade officials. This sense of urgency has tested everything about Government’s engagement with Māori.”
From the outset, Te Taumata has changed the engagement model of consultation from a process led by officials, to one of face-to-face and chief-to-chief engagement led by Te Taumata. This, in turn, brings New Zealand’s trade negotiators, ministers and other trade experts home to the people through a series of regional hui on trade.
The success of this strategy is evident with a significant number of whānau attending the hui in Mataatua / Rotorua and Te Tairawhiti / Gisborne. Future hui is programmed for Whakatu / Hastings and Te Tai Tokerau / Northland.
Why were these rohe prioritised for the regional hui?
Mataatua, Te Tairawhiti, Whakatu and Te Tai Tokerau consist of a high concentration of Māori land, with whānau living close to their tūrangawaewae (shown in blue on the map), says Mr Insley
What whānau are saying in the hui?
The predominant message from whānau across the motu is jobs for our whānau enabled by the trade of products from our land and farms, as well as from horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, mānuka honey and more.
One in four jobs in New Zealand is directly derived from trade, says Mr Insley.
“This is especially important for our whānau in the regions where the unemployment rates are the highest in the country.”
“Before now, I never really understood much about this trade stuff.”
“But now I do, this stuff is bloody important for us.”
Sheep and Beef Farmer, Community and Whānau leader
Te Tairawhiti, Ngāti Porou
The regional trade hui are proving hugely popular with on average of a hundred whānau attending each, dozens more joining online and thousands more following the trade kaupapa online via social media platforms.
Shown in orange and green on the map is the Te Taumata strategy to systematically sustain the effort to further engage our Māori whānau across the motu as never before. It is through these hui that we are able to breathe life into the words of the late Dr. Apirana Tuahae Mahuika:
“Noku te whenua, kei a au te kōrero.”
“Noku te whenua, ko au te rangatira.”
(It is for Māori to speak for Māori)
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