I attended this Te Rōpū Whakahau workshop held at Taiwhakaea Marae, Whakatane, in August 2011. (Yes, it has taken me nearly 3 years to write this reflection.)
As a pakeha, I gained a deeper understanding of concepts including a Māori worldview, Māori knowledge constructs, and values such as manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga and rangatiratanga. I learned that librarians have an important role as a liaison between the Western and Māori worlds. We are the Kaitiaki of both resources and of people – our colleagues and library community. I felt privileged to hear some of the stories behind this beautiful Marae, and this helped me go beyond just a theoretical understanding of the Marae as a method of research in itself.
To prepare for the workshop we were asked to describe the Māori collections within our own institution, consider where the Treaty of Waitangi sits within our policies, and discuss the role of Māori staff . We were also required to demonstrate our understanding of Te Rōpū Whakahau and its partnership with LIANZA. This preparatory work was valuable in itself, and I liked the pedagogy behind this exercise. It indicated that an expectation that we actively participate in the learning being offered to us.
The knowledge I gained at this workshop has helped me in the work I do at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic where there is a strong focus on increasing the educational achievement of Maori students.
Thanks to Te Rōpū Whakahau and presenters Tangimeriana Rua, Eddie Neha, Hinerangi Kara, and Whina Te Whiu for putting together the workshop, and to Manu and the people of Taiwhakaea Marae for sharing their stories, knowledge, and kai with us.