Carol | Tikapa

“Last night, because I’ve just started getting together other Māori to learn the reo, and what’s inspired me is that I’ve looked at a young woman who I’d like to see grow. So she inspires me, they inspire me, and all of that, because it keeps us connected as Māori.

I’m Māori, Ngāti Porou, so toko tūrangawaewae ko Tikapa. Tikapa is the name of the marae. Tikapa is the name of the area that I would call home. I grew up in a little place called Mangaroa. So my father was the head teacher there; the school principal I suppose is what they call them now, and I spent a lot of time back on the East Coast. I went to a little school back there called Waiomatatini, but my parents were very strong in terms of wanting us to have education. So there are five of us, although one of my sisters has since passed on. I have a background in nursing. I currently work in an emergency department at Middlemore Hospital. What matters to me are people, my partners and kindness. Kindness matters, well it’s who I am. It’s what makes me who I am.

I use this phrase – Wellington use it; absolutely positively Wellington. I am absolutely positively 100 per cent Māori, and so what matters to me is actually being strong and grounded in that. If you’re strong and grounded in your identity, then that’s what will keep you going, and that’s why it inspires me to actually have other Māori who do that as well, who want to learn their reo, because in that is your tikanga, is your beliefs, your foundations, and if you are true in who you are, and your identity, then I think everything else is in place; your path, your huarahi. Everything else falls into place because you are quite sure and grounded in that, and so it does inspire me to actually pass on, in whatever capacity, something that I know, but we’re learning from each other. In Māori we have this saying; tuakana-teina. So, you learn from the young, and they learn from you. Yeah, siblings and our kuia and kaumatua – we’re not getting any younger and we’re losing a lot of them. So I think it’s really important to pursue this, and to grow it and to grow myself as well.

Well, it took a lot of courage. Courage is something you have to have. You know?  Like, I decided that – I worked in kohanga as a volunteer with my mum when she was alive a couple of years ago and so I saw the potential in there for the young mums and so I asked one of them if she’d be interested in actually taking classes, and it was through that this has grown. So I put an email out at work asking others if they were interested, and as a result of that I’ve had a response. So it’s just grown from there. So I think the key thing is to be courageous, to give it a go, to ask questions, and then just see what unfolds.”

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