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There have been moments in everyone’s lifetime where they have been put in an uncomfortable or difficult situation, whether that be personally, culturally, sexually, or racially. This can be particularly difficult in the workplace. Reactions range from frustration, anger, and disbelief to determination, perseverance, and optimism. I, myself, tend to opt for the prior. Once when I was working as a waitress I wasn’t able to get time off for a tangi. It blew my mind that my boss wasn’t able to recognise the cultural and personal importance of a tangi, even after I tried to explain it. Difficult situations at work occur regularly and last week I was lucky enough to attend an event hosted by Ngā Taura Umanga where five speakers spoke about this exact topic.
Heather Skipworth founded Iron Māori after experiencing how difficult it was for her clients, and herself as well, to feel comfortable in a non-familiar environment. She spoke about how experiencing that discomfort and anxiety spurned her and her clients to do better and be better.
Travis O’Keefe saw immense success as an entrepreneur, then intense defeat following the recession. Despite losing millions, his businesses, and even some personal relationships what hurt the most was losing his identity. He emphasised the importance of staying true to who you are, no matter the circumstance or situation.
Taaniko and Vienna Nordstrom started a business at their local market using a sheet they’d taken from their Nan’s house and a bit of home-grown determination. They have since travelled the world with their successful business and believe that without daily challenges they would not be where they are, who they are, and be able to give back the way they are today.
Te Kahu Rolleston entered into a Slam Poetry competition that was predominantly Pākehā and was powered by his passion, charisma, and a strong sense of self. He constantly challenges not only himself but the status quo, as he enters into new and unfamiliar environments daily, and encourages us to do the same.
What these speakers imparted to me is that with a strong sense of self, and the ability to take risks and face challenges head on, adversity can be overcome.
Ngāi Tauira AGM
Te Herenga Waka Marae at 5.30pm, Wednesday, October 12.
NT Exec Nominations
Open October 3 and close at 5.00pm on October 7.