Conference Cogitations

* I read Darren Poke’s Differences between a Conference and a Junket before I left.  I’m very sure I was at a Conference, thank goodness!

This Conference was monumental, by Playcentre standards. At the earlier National Executive Meeting, Tangata Whenua agreed to become full partners with Tangata Tiriti within our structure.  This showed trust and a willingness to be fully bicultural on both sides.

For those of you in the USA or Canada, it might be like fully acknowledging the culture of the Native Americans, acknowledging their rights as “The People of the Land” and giving them the right to speak and be part of the management and governance. We at Playcentre can only fight for Tangata Whenua to have that right at Government level, but we have acknowledged that right within our organisation. It is not the easy road, but is definitely a first step.

So at this conference, which is the New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s AGM, we didn’t just elect our officers for the 2011-2012 year, but created new positions solely for our Tangata Whenua partners, and they filled those, as well.

There was an extremely emotional powhiri where the Maori caucus formally “handed over” and welcomed the Tangata Whenua officers to their new positions within Federation. No dry eyes were visible. 

What amazed me most about the powhiri was the absolute silence from Tangata Tiriti. Before this moment at the conference, people had been talking while the speakers were talking, not listening with respect or intent.  But the moment the powhiri began, all you could hear was the karanga (see powhiri link above) and all eyes watched as Tangata Whenua slowly walked to the front of the room to join the Federation team. No one moved during the haka powhiri. And it continued as Greg, the Tangata Whenua elder, performed the oratory mihi (see link above). We all sang together for the waiata (song) (Tutira mai nga iwi).

Tūtira mai ngā iwi
Tātou tātou e
Tūtira mai ngā iwi
Tātou tātou e
Whai-a te marama-tanga
me te aroha – e ngā iwi!
Ki-a k’tapa-tahi
Ki-a ko-tahi rā.
Tātou tātou e.
Tā – tou, tā – tou E!!
Hi aue hei !!!

Line up together, people
All of us, all of us.
Stand in rows, people
All of us, all of us.
Seek after knowledge
and love of others – everybody!
Think as one,
Act as one.
All of us, all of us.

This is a huge step, a huge change, and there will be hiccups and issues to work around along the way. But for me, this event was amazing, inspiring, unforgettable, problem-solving (and creating… but you can’t solve everything), full of new learning, and full of hope.


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About Broot

Thoughts about learning and life that are lost in a sea of blogs.

4 responses to “Conference Cogitations”

  1. Jenn @ You know...that Blog? says :

    Tangata… what? It’s all Greek to me. Errr… Kiwi, that is. 🙂

    That does sound monumental – and how very cool that you were a part of it!

    • Broot says :

      LOL that’s okay Jenn. It took me a few years living here to figure it all out myself!

      And yes, it was very cool to be there! 🙂

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