Looking to the future of Tairawhiti Maori Wardens

Succession the main concern in this district: Apelu.

Succession the main concern in this district: Apelu.

THE MANA OF MAORI WARDENS: One of a series of nationwide consultation hui to assist in the modernisation of the Maori Wardens organisation was held in Gisborne this week. Back row (from left) are Robert Whaitiri (regional co-ordinator Maori wardens, Te Puni Kokiri), Krystal Peachey (kaihautu, Tairawhiti Regional Maori Wardens), Bos Apelu, John Jefferies, Kathy Reynolds, Margret Marsh, Delys Hooper, Niki Hitaua (seated), Graham Keats, Ngarau Wharepapa, Annie Karaka and Janie Waititi. Front: Bub Apelu (Tairawhiti Regional Maori Wardens chairwoman), Mana Gibson, Sunni-Jhay Hitaua. Picture by Paul Rickard
Krystal Peachey (Kaihautu, Tairawhiti Regional Maori Wardens), Bos Apelu, John Jefferies, Kathy Reynolds, Margret Marsh, Delys Hooper, Niki Hitaua (seated), Graham Keats, Ngarau Wharepapa, Annie Karaka, Janie Waititi - Front - Bub Apelu (Chairperson, Tairawhiti Regional Maori Wardens), Mana Gibson, Sunni-Jhay Hitaua

The modernisation of Maori wardens is the focus of a series of nationwide consultation hui with the latest held in Gisborne this week.

Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, is running the hui and met with Tairawhiti Maori Wardens and NZ Police to discuss the modernisation and future aspirations of the organisation.

Tairawhiti Maori Wardens chairwoman Marama “Bub” Apelu said it was timely to consider what the future for Maori wardens could look like.

“Where do we want to see ourselves in the future?” she said. “We’re addressing some of the needs that we have here in Tairawhiti.”

The main concern was succession, she said.

“We have a lot of elderly wardens and our korero has been around how we replace them and how our older wardens maintain a presence in the wardenship and grow it.

“Our part in it is having our voices heard. We held a Tairawhiti strategic planning hui a few weeks ago, based on the needs we see in our own rohe.

“We’re determined to have a structure that works for us in Tairawhiti. We can’t speak for everyone else but focus on what is good for us in our rohe.”

Maori Wardens was formally established in the 1940s to manage the behaviour of Maori under the influence of alcohol.

Their role has evolved to meet the changing needs of whanau and communities to include supporting the homeless, encouraging rangatahi, providing community reassurance, facilitating hui between whanau and schools, providing event management and security, and facilitating youth at risk programmes.

“Poverty, homelessness and housing are some of the issues we are concerned about,” said Mrs Apelu.

“We have the same problems that other areas have but we may deal with them differently.

“We love the support that we have within our own rohe . . . our watene (wardens) are finding their own solutions to deal with the issues we have here.”

The general public did not always see the type of work Maori wardens do, she said.

“The warden role is so diverse. We don’t want to just be seen as people called upon as ushers when there is a big hui or event. We are very community-focused. For example, we have younger ones that are coming on board and some of them are young mums with a passion to provide support to other young mothers.

“We are also focusing on developing our watene on the marae and strengthening them within their own rohe. That’s a key goal.”

At the hui. Maori warden groups shared their aspirations to be more independent and in control of their own affairs

Three main options were discussed.

The first option, known as Kahika, is about updating governance and administration and the Maori Community Development Act to better reflect the roles and functions of wardens.

Option B, Pohutukawa, is looking at the new Maori Wardens Act to provide greater operational control by Maori wardens.

The final option, or Tikouka, is looking at wardens establishing their own governance and operational structure, and looking after their own affairs outside of legislation.

The consultation hui was held in the build-up to a Maori wardens national hui in July, where the options will be discussed further.

The modernisation of Maori wardens is the focus of a series of nationwide consultation hui with the latest held in Gisborne this week.

Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, is running the hui and met with Tairawhiti Maori Wardens and NZ Police to discuss the modernisation and future aspirations of the organisation.

Tairawhiti Maori Wardens chairwoman Marama “Bub” Apelu said it was timely to consider what the future for Maori wardens could look like.

“Where do we want to see ourselves in the future?” she said. “We’re addressing some of the needs that we have here in Tairawhiti.”

The main concern was succession, she said.

“We have a lot of elderly wardens and our korero has been around how we replace them and how our older wardens maintain a presence in the wardenship and grow it.

“Our part in it is having our voices heard. We held a Tairawhiti strategic planning hui a few weeks ago, based on the needs we see in our own rohe.

“We’re determined to have a structure that works for us in Tairawhiti. We can’t speak for everyone else but focus on what is good for us in our rohe.”

Maori Wardens was formally established in the 1940s to manage the behaviour of Maori under the influence of alcohol.

Their role has evolved to meet the changing needs of whanau and communities to include supporting the homeless, encouraging rangatahi, providing community reassurance, facilitating hui between whanau and schools, providing event management and security, and facilitating youth at risk programmes.

“Poverty, homelessness and housing are some of the issues we are concerned about,” said Mrs Apelu.

“We have the same problems that other areas have but we may deal with them differently.

“We love the support that we have within our own rohe . . . our watene (wardens) are finding their own solutions to deal with the issues we have here.”

The general public did not always see the type of work Maori wardens do, she said.

“The warden role is so diverse. We don’t want to just be seen as people called upon as ushers when there is a big hui or event. We are very community-focused. For example, we have younger ones that are coming on board and some of them are young mums with a passion to provide support to other young mothers.

“We are also focusing on developing our watene on the marae and strengthening them within their own rohe. That’s a key goal.”

At the hui. Maori warden groups shared their aspirations to be more independent and in control of their own affairs

Three main options were discussed.

The first option, known as Kahika, is about updating governance and administration and the Maori Community Development Act to better reflect the roles and functions of wardens.

Option B, Pohutukawa, is looking at the new Maori Wardens Act to provide greater operational control by Maori wardens.

The final option, or Tikouka, is looking at wardens establishing their own governance and operational structure, and looking after their own affairs outside of legislation.

The consultation hui was held in the build-up to a Maori wardens national hui in July, where the options will be discussed further.

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