So my first official day as a councillor at the Gisborne District Council was on Thursday, August the 7th, 2014.
All those I loved and adored were present both in body and in spirit. Even Tamanui Te Rā came out for the Powhiri.
As Aunty Pimia Wehi’s kāranga rang out in reply to Nanny Olive Isaac, I felt the first of many emotions and understood the gravity of the event. Ngā pāpā Temepara Isaacs, Rutene Irwin and Charlie Pera were safe navigators for all those present in that iwi taketake (indigenous) engagement. The karakia and mihi occured before Mayor Meng Foon conducted his mayoral duty of opening the days council meeting. It was the right call and a positive message to send to the whānau.
I read the Oath that councillors are legally required to read upon entry into territorial unitary authority governance. I also said a speech. It was such a blur that I actually remember neither!
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.
To read more about the council mahi that I have done over the years click here.