Te Hurihanganui Nelson Community Celebration
Victory Community Centre, Nelson
“Racism exists – we feel little and bad”.
Those were the unprompted words of one student during an interview for a report produced by the Children’s Commissioner in 2018.
They were also the words I used when I announced the funding to implement Te Hurihanganui in Porirua when we were hosted by Ngāti Toarangatira.
It is exciting to be here in Nelson with another part of Ngāti Toa as we take another step in Te Hurihanganui, this time in Nelson.
Of course, one of the unique features of this whenua is how the many iwi work together across waka and whakapapa – Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Te Atiawa, Rangitane – kei te mihi hoki ki a koutou.
Unfortunately, that student’s experience, while disturbing, is not surprising to Māori whānau.
We all have brothers, sisters, parents, children or grandchildren who have had similar experiences, who have been left to feel that they don’t belong, that their culture isn’t valued, that they will fail. This is why Te Hurihanganui is so important.
The education system hasn’t worked for everyone in New Zealand – it’s inequitable.
One of the biggest reasons for that is systemic racism. Te Hurihanganui is how we’re working with communities to fix that.
Celebrating Nelson’s participation in Te Hurihanganui today is an important milestone not just for the community, but for the education system and the Government.
Nelson will be at the forefront of our work to address racism and inequity in the education system and improve outcomes for ākonga Māori and their whānau not just here, but across the country.
Communities are at the heart of Te Hurihanganui because they know their people, their local contexts and histories, and what works best for them.
This starts with the mana whenua, all these hapū, iwi and waka.
Your commitment to your tamariki and whānau and your manaaki of all of us here today is testament to the leadership and support you bring to this kaupapa.
I’m also excited to see the leadership of our Māori and non-Māori ākonga, whānau and educators come together today and over the next three years.
Addressing racism and inequity will require us to sustain and strengthen these relationships as we all embark on this journey together.
Only then can we improve Māori experiences and outcomes in education. When Māori succeed, we all succeed in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Te Hurihanganui acknowledges that addressing racism and inequity is everybody’s responsibility.
This can only be achieved if ākonga, whānau, hapū, iwi and communities lead this journey alongside educators and policymakers.
For communities to lead this journey, we need to provide guidance and support and enable communities to drive their own outcomes, and that is the role of the Ministry of Education and its partners.
This Government is committed to a long-term, positive transformation in the education system to improve the outcomes and experience of ākonga Māori and their whānau.
Te Hurihanganui will help us achieve change by supporting everybody within the education system to shift their actions and practices, so that we collectively serve all learners and their whānau.