Tēnā koutou katoa. I want to give a massive shout out to the Māori Matters radio show for having me on air two weeks ago, which contributed to my successful campaign for VUWSA Equity Officer. On the show we talked about reasons why Māori don’t typically run for VUWSA and perhaps reasons why Māori don’t participate in conceived “Pākehā” politics.
A lot of this lack of participation, in my opinion, is linked to the idea that we technically have our own representative body, Ngāi Tauira—VUW Māori Students’ Association (NT). NT does so much for tauira Māori, and it’s obviously important that we have this representative body. However when I look at the roles within VUWSA—such as Welfare VP, Sustainability and Wellbeing Officer, Academic VP—I see so much potential for Māori to implement ideas from within these roles, aligned with our own cultural processes, that I believe could be largely beneficial to all students.
For example when we think of traditional Māori processes of health and healing, we have a holistic idea of spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. A lot of the time the spiritual side of wellbeing is dismissed. When in reality your wairua is something that is not only beneficial to your wellbeing, but to your academic abilities and determination. We also have this special, tangible connection to Papatūānuku which obliges us to take care of our environment and ensure that we’re being sustainable.
I feel like Māori have so much to contribute to so many typically “Pākehā” spaces that is special and unique, and it’s up to us to get more involved and interested in the people representing us. A lot of tauira Māori I have met so far this year are more than capable of occupying these ‘high-ranking’ spaces, but it’s up to us to make the effort and to transform the systems we inhabit to be more culturally inclusive to our, and other’s, needs.
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Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi.
Ngai Tauira AGM
Wednesday, October 12, 5.30pm at Te Herenga Waka Marae.
NT Exec Nominations open Monday, October 3, and close at 5.00pm Friday, October 7. AGM Nomination packs, which include role descriptions, can be found on the Ngai Tauira Facebook page (Ngāi Tauira—VUW Māori Students’ Association) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.