We have adopted a whakatauki to guide this work within our organisation: Manaaki whenua, manaaki tāngata, haere whakamua – If we care for the land, if we care for people, we can move forward into the future.
This week is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori so it’s a timely opportunity to share what we’re doing, in the hope it may inspire other organisations to follow suit.
We worked with Tutiramai to train our staff in cultural competency over a 12 week course. This included Te Tiriti ō Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi), te reo in the workplace and pronunciation. The facilitator, Moana Whatarau, wrote a waiata for us, which we sing each week, as well as at our AGM and Awards. We feel very lucky to have our own waiata that speaks to the heart of what we do and what we are working towards.
Since then we review the material we’ve learnt and practise in weekly te reo sessions.
Pepeha and karakia
We have each written our own pepeha, which we use to introduce ourselves at meetings and workshops.
We open and close team meetings with a karakia, and we have an additional karakia to bless kai.
We engaged a cultural advisor, Te Huia Taylor, to help us formulate a strategy for our engagement with Te Ao Māori.
Direct engagement with mana whenua, iwi and hapū
We engage with mana whenua, iwi and hapū with our Nature Regeneration projects, providing resources and support to help them achieve their aspirations. These groups include Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, Te Uri o Hau Native Nursery, and Piritahi Marae, Waiheke.
For our Puhinui Regeneration Project we are guided by the Te Waiohua Iwi collective and have regular meetings with representatives to guide and inform our mahi.
We have created a Māori seat on our Board, which is filled by Amber Nicholson. We are focused on continuing to improve our diversity across our staff and Board.
We use Slack to communicate internally and have created a te reo channel to share stories, learnings and sayings and to keep our people engaged.
Here are a few examples of what we’ve shared: the Taringa podcast, Land of the Long White Cloud documentary series, Aotearoa History Show, Up to Speed with Te Reo podcast, Maori ways of knowing the weather and climate, and Maori phases of the Moon.
All our staff have Key Performance Indicators around our commitment to learning our karakia, waiata and use of te reo in the office.
This is the start of a journey for us, which is providing great value for us personally as well as for our work. Kia ora!