11 September 2020

Poipoia te kākano kia puāwai - Nuture the seed and it will blossom

For many organisations, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori has become an opportunity to take a week out of the year to celebrate, use and learn Te Reo Māori.

This year, for Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council, it’s the opportunity to cement a new path with its staff. Rather than a one-off week of activities, the organisation is kicking off a long-term focus to foster inclusion and diversity and enhance the understanding of Te Ao Māori with its staff.

Toi Moana Chief Executive Fiona McTavish says the organisation is dedicated to working with its staff in ensuring Te Ao Māori is understood and integrated into its daily work.

“This year we welcome the beginning of our journey to lift our own understanding of mātauranga Māori, beginning with a commitment to strengthening the first language of this country within our organisation,” she said.

“In 2018 we approved He Korowai Mātauranga, an internal framework to help support staff to be culturally aware and responsive to its regional community.

The Bay of Plenty has a rich cultural dynamic with Māori making up approximately 29% of the region’s population. Māori are key partners, stakeholders and members of our community; with 37 iwi and approximately 260 hapū in the Bay of Plenty. In 2001 Regional Council became the first territorial authority to provide for Māori representation in local government.

“Building and maintaining relationships with Māori is a fundamental part of Regional Council's role, and the success of this starts with our staff. We want to make sure our region grows and develops in a way that keeps its values safe for future generations.”

“We’ve worked hard to ensure we’re putting the right steps in place to be able to do this, and while the week itself will see staff attend workshops, take part in lessons and be able to attend other terrific learning opportunities, many of these will continue beyond the week.”

“I’m passionate about this being a real investment in our staff. We know that improved diversity fosters better decision-making and the flow on will mean improved outcomes for our community in what we’re working to achieve.”

Ms McTavish says regardless of their role, or knowledge of Te Reo Māori, everyone at Toi Moana is being encouraged to take part for up to two hours per day during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. Initially, Te Reo lessons for staff will continue on a regular basis.

“This is only the beginning, it will be a journey to get to our ideal state – to be confident and competent to walk in both worlds and recognise traditional values and protocols that can contribute to a better way of interacting with our planet.”

We are happy to facilitate photo or interview opportunities at Toi Moana during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori - please contact media@boprc.govt.nz for further information.