For five Tuesday evenings in a row, the Māoriland Hub hosted a series of interactive kōrero called NATIVE MINDS. These were informal occasions where exceptional indigenous thinkers gathered to share what was on their mind – alongside a regular group of like minded minds. 

Twelve guest speakers from within our community and beyond, joined us to explore their personal visions for the future. 

Within the broad framework of ‘He Tirohanga Whakamua’ these learned individuals from a wide range of professions within the indigenous world, offered a feast of informed opinions. They addressed a range of fundamental issues that concern everyone: The challenges facing female and male in the modern era; our relationship with the environment; the evolving shape of modern Māori governance; and the hidden stories of the Pacific.

Aunty Gabe Rikihana was the opening speaker. She outlined her own secure and loving upbringing in this community, and a subsequent long life in which she developed a keen awareness of prejudice and racism. Her delight at the young Māori women who were on stage alongside her was evident. She believes that the essence of the gifts of the old people resides triumphant in the young people of today. 

Over the five weeks we also heard from Iriaka Epiha-Ferris, Pūāwai Winterburn, Heitia Raureti, Jeremy Eparaima, Toi Iti, Kera Sherwood-O’Regan, Hinemāua Rikirangi, Mereana Selby, Nina Nawalowalo and Rachel Yates.

Although many challenges remain in the struggle for a fair society and a safe planet, there is clear evidence that any beneficial change for the future will come from people working within our communities, and from our young.

Sonny Ngātai spoke not just for the men, when he said that everyone had the right to be defined by what’s in their hearts.

Māoriland is grateful to the KCDC, Tuia 250 and those in our community who came to participate and create such a stimulating space. It was a great way to spend a Tuesday evening. Many people are going to miss it but you can catch it online through the NATIVE Minds podcast – available soon. We hope to be back once again. Ka nui te mihi o te ngākau ki a koutou e ngā kaihāpai o te kaupapa i rangona anōhia ai te hihiri i te mahara, ka mutu, he hihiri mai anō, mai anō. Tēnā koutou katoa.

\"\"Tainui Stephens

Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa) is an independent film and television producer, director and writer. For nearly four decades he has been able to bring many Māori productions to the small and big screen. His latest production is a television series called THE DEAD LANDS that will be released world wide in January 2020.