Poipoia a tātou rangatahi: Engaging Rangatahi in the Waitangi Tribunal

Kua tau mai te wā kia tu whakahihi mō te karatī o Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. I te timatanga o te tau i tuwhera te kuaha o tēnei kaupapa ki ahau. I kite tōku koka i te torohū o ōku mahi na te hononga me te mātauranga o tōku whanau i whaiwāhi ki te kaupapa o Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. 

E tika ana kia whakatakoto ngā āhuatanga o tēnei kaupapa. I te tuatahi i tukuna he koha mō te $4000 ki ia tauira i whai wāhi ki te take nei. Heoi, ko te ngako ō te moni ē penei nā. He koha hei awhina i a matau ngā tauira o te karatī mō a matau mahi rangahau.  Otirā  huri ki te reo pākeha kia whai mai ngā whatu o te minenga.

I was awarded a New Horizons internship programme for Māori students interested in pursuing a career in research. The award provides assistance to Māori students. I co-designed research activities with my supervisor that align to the NPM Matakitenga research programme and contributes to the mission of NPM which is to create the foundations for flourishing Māori futures. 

Poipoia a tatou rangatahi was the title we gave to this project. It encourages rangatahi to engage in current and political discourses. Awareness and conscientizing of these issues help rangatahi to partake in Māori futures and contribute to discussions of Māori pathways.

The scholarship allowed me to further gain experience in the Maori political space. Through the efforts of those around me I was able to participate in events and situations that were otherwise foreign and therefore out of my reach (for the time being). However, thanks to the grant from Nga Pae of te Maramatanga i was able to expand my understanding on some the issues that are currently taking place in Aotearoa.

Set up by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975, the Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry that makes recommendations on claims brought by Māori relating to Crown actions which breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi. At the beginning of the year I had very limited knowledge, if any at all, about the ‘dos and don’ts’ that take place in the Waitangi Tribunal. This isn’t limited to the Waitangi Tribunal either. I had never taken a proper look into the issues that not only Maori face but everyone in Aotearoa. Throughout the year I had been developing important skills regarding the raru that Maori face today. A number of important claims are being pursued by the the Waitangi Tribunal, I was able to look into specific issues such as;

Wai 2500            The Military Veterans Kaupapa Inquiry

Wai 2700            Kaupapa inquiry into claims concerning Mana Wāhine

Wai 2750            The Housing Policy and Services Inquiry

Wai 2575            The Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry

Wai 2660            The Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act Inquiry

Wai 2660 is dealing with the problems associated with Marine and Coastal Land and the ownership titles that are associated with those lands and areas. However, Wai 2750 was particularly interesting as it tackled an issue that has been prevalent in modern Aotearoa for years that being the housing crisis. Housing has been a reoccurring issue in New Zealand with the hope of resolution seeming further and further away. Regardless there is an attempt to make change in the systems that are currently in place. This includes changing the policies that are associated with emergency, social and temporary housing as well as many other social welfare programmes. These policy changes are an attempt to make access to these facilities easier for Maori.

My duties in the project included;

Reading and Research – Statements of Claim and/or Briefs of evidence and Research Reports prepared for and filed in each of the Inquiries. The mahi focused on claim issue specific and the work undertaken was filed noted for future reference.

Drafting – Amending Statements of Claim and/or Briefs of Evidence and Memoranda of Counsel to be filed at each of the Inquiries. Training and professional guidance and templates were provided to me for this mahi.

Attendances – Clients, Claimant Counsel Hui, Judicial Conferences and Tribunal hearings. This mahi required contributing to the discussions as required and will also be file noted for future reference.

This project sought to lift the engagement of rangtahi and awareness of the Waitangi Tribunal. Considering the national importance and significance to Māori wellbeing, rangatahi awareness of these highly relevant and political Waitangi Tribunal claims should be encouraged. To enable leadership, rangatahi must have opportunities to engage in political conversations and topics. Access to relevant political issues is important for us to contribute positively to the future of Te Ao Maori.

Under this project, I gained a rangatahi perspective on the internal workings of Waitangi Tribunal claims. I believe the involvement and development of rangatahi awareness is integral to carry on the mahi of this important kauapapa and produce positive legacies. This project develops and enhances my notion of tino rangatiratanga.

I had taken my first step in the Maori political atmosphere this year in June.  I witnessed lawyers and politicians debate and discuss this topic at the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings.

The catalyst for me taking part in these events started with the Nga Pae o te Māramatanga grant and the rōpu supporting it. The fortnightly zoom meetings that would take place with guest speakers, discussing and sharing their passion and knowledge about topics branching into numerous topics ad fields provided me with the opportunity to look at issues through different lenses.

Thus, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga grant and team has had a massive impact on where I am, currently providing me with the opportunity to witness and be part of something progressive. Throughout this experience I was mentored by my aunty Dr Kiri Dell. PhD graduate from the University of Auckland. My aunty was extremely helpful in pushing me to do work that I would have otherwise overlooked whether that be opportunity or motivation and for that reason I am very thankful. Barney Tupara, guided me through the content and although Covid got in the way, he opened up a new world to me.

He mihi nui tēnei ki te ope o Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga mō to koutou karatī. He mihi ano ki toku koka i ā Dr Kiri Dell mo te akiaki I ahau kia mahia te mahi. Anō he mihi nui tēnei kia Barney Tūpara, ko ia te whākōkī o ēnei mahi katoa. Tena koe Barney mō tou awhina I ahau me o mahi whānui mō ngā iwi Māori o te motu.  He tūmanako moku ka pupuri matau ngā tauira i ēnei wheako, hei awhina, hei ārahi i a matau mō āpōpō.

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