So my first official day as a councilor was on Thursday, August the 7th, 2014.
All those I loved and adored were present both in body and in spirit. Even Tamanui Te Ra came out for the Powhiri.
As Aunty Pimia Wehi’s karanga rang out in reply to Nanny Olive Isaac, I felt the first of many emotions and understood the gravity of the event. Papas Temepara Isaacs, Rutene Irwin and Charlie Pera were safe navigators for all those present in that indigenous engagement. Interestingly, Mayor Meng Foon allowed the karakia and mihi to occur before his conducting his mayoral duty of opening the days council meeting. I thought that was a great call and a very subtle, yet positive message to send to the whanau in attendance. I read the Oath that councilors are legally required to read upon entry into district and unitary authority governance. Oh yeah, and I said a speech; none of which I actually remember.
Needless to say, the powhiri was great.
Powhiri are usually great, but it was especially wonderful for me and for others to see the Gisborne District Council engage in an inherently Māori process. The happy comment was made to me by someone in attendance that they felt like there was a positive shift happening at the council. That made me smile.
Overall it was a great morning and it felt like, as Papa Rutene said, ‘a family reunion.’
I want to make a special mention to the following groups for supporting the morning:
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wānanga, Riverdale School, Te Kura o Whatātutu, Te Kaunihera o te Tairāwhiti, Tauawhi Men’s Centre, Te Kura Awhio, The Māhaki, Rongowhakaata and Porourangi whanau, hapu and Iwi,