35-year anniversary

“E te whānau o Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou katoa.

Ka puta te waiora o tōku Whare Wānanga, he Wānanga pupuri kōrero, he Wānanga pupuri mātauranga, e ko Te Wānanga o Aotearoa e haere ake nei.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tīhei mauri ora!”

Firstly a huge rā whānau to us all, against all of the challenges that Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has faced over these 35 years. It’s a credit to our resilience, it’s a credit to our belief in our kaupapa, that we celebrate today.

As we commemorate Anzac Day, we all pay tribute to those who lost their lives overseas. The stories of their bravery are well known and are a part of our history. The Māori Battalion have left a huge legacy that we should all be proud of, as did many of those who went overseas.

Some have said that the engagement in war was the price of citizenship. That they went away and fought, so that we would benefit from these sacrifices. The sad part is that many of them did not see the fulfillment of their dreams.

When the Māori Battalion returned home, Sir James Hēnare made a statement to his soldiers before they went away.

“E hoki ki ō koutou kāinga, ki ō koutou awa, ki ō koutou maunga. Engari kia mau ki te kōrero, tū Māori mai, tū Māori mai, tū Māori mai.”

“Go back to your mountains, go back to your marae, go back to your rivers. Hold strong to the kōrero. Be proud, be strong, and be strengthened by your Māoriness.”

That’s what we must do today. The ultimate act of defiance, in some senses, was by Te Puea, who kept her people home in Waikato. But we too know about defiance, that is how we got here. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa desired to address the inequalities that our people faced at the time, that was the genesis of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

The founders of this Wānanga believed in our own ability to create our own destiny, so that our people could achieve the goals that they wanted for their future, that is tino rangatiratanga.

We have so much to celebrate and be proud of these 35 years. We’ve had to change, we’ve had to adapt, and move with the times. We’ve had to respond to the needs of our people in our communities, to governments, and to regulations, but today is no different, as we start a new journey of having all of our offerings online.

As we celebrate this 35th birthday, I want to thank all of you who have been working behind the scenes to make this day a reality. It has been a huge job, but we are at our best when we’re under pressure. Thank you all so much.

So e hoa mā, enjoy the day. Remember, it is a significant part of our history and who we are. You, me, we are a part of this 35-year journey, as we celebrate today. But really it’s what was lies ahead that is the most exciting part.

Mā te wāhi ngaro koutou e manaaki, e tiaki.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

If you’d like to be part of the journey, enrol now.

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