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Shaquille Shortland & Leadership

Leadership comes in many different styles, especially when looking at leadership from a Te Ao Māori perspective as the name is descriptive of the actions the people of that time expected the leader to do. Here are five examples of traditional leadership that I have running through my mind on a daily basis with my own modern / contemporary name for them.

Rangatira: Ranga (To weave) - Tira (A group of people & harmony)

Although is more commonly just translated as "Chief" or "Leader" but with a job of "Weaving Harmony between groups of people" usually whilst standing as the spokesperson for their people. They are raised and never self appointed. The peace-keeper.

Kaitātaki: Kai (In this context a prefix used infront of a verb to make it a noun / title) - Tātaki (Root word "taki" meaning tempo / beat)

This is the person responsible for keeping the kaihoe (rowers of a canoe) in time so that the waka can move forward, however is not responsible for the direction it is heading.

The trend setter.

Kaiurungi: Kai (The same context as above) Urungi (To steer or direct) This is the leader who stands at the back of the canoe in a higher position to be able to see ahead and give commands to get canoe to its destination. They MUST have a high degree of knowledge in navigation and star-lore. The decision maker.

Amorangi: Amo (To bear on the shoulders) Rangi (The Sky Father / Heavens)

This name refers to emblems representing Atua (Gods) worn on the shoulder or on a raised banner, usually by a priest who stands at the front of a war party and recites prayers for the safety, wellbeing and inspiration of their people. The motivator.

Tumu Herenga Waka: Tumu (Mooring post) Herenga (Bond / Rope) Waka (Canoe)

This is a figurative name for a leader that people gravitate towards (bind their waka to) likening them to a post. Charismatic and positive. A trustworthy worthy leader to ground those surrounding them. The Unifier.

I conduct myself every day with these traditional views on leadership heavy on my mind. So, if you see me sitting out on of the local youth twerking competitions, this is why. There is however, one specific kind of leadership I am basing my stand for Whangarei District Council around.

It is also the name of a collective of Young Māori Leaders that I am a part of from accross the country, pulled together by the McGuinness Institute and NZ Treasury to present our views on the Post Treaty Settlement Era (That's for another post).

Ngā Pītau Whakarei: Ngā (The {plural) - Pītau (Spiral / Fern Frond) Whakarei (A decorated figurehead of a superior canoe representing a full human figure)

This to me, is the type of leadership that we need more of. My view of this metaphor of leadership is;

1) The Pītau Whakarei is built strong to take the full force of the waves head on and provide the Kaiurungi an idea of where to direct the waka next. A leader that does not use people as pawns.

2) The Pītau Whakarei also takes the mākutu (curses) from opposing tribes and nullifies them and often supported by the Amorangi.

A leader who knows their strengths and weaknesses.

What modern day name do I give Ngā Pītau Whakarei? The example.

I wanted to support young people (younger than myself at 25) to stand for council in the Whangarei local body elections but I couldn't find anyone too keen on the idea. I then thought long and hard about there not being many, of any good examples of a; 1) Young 2) Māori running for council (Except for our whanaunga Rōpata who stood in the last by-election). As a youth mentor, I then came to the realisation that I should not be putting our young leaders into highly vulnerable and unknown spaces without some firsthand experience of the pros and cons of running as a young person and a Māori person in Whangarei. The current council looks like this and needs some diversity.

So I decided to stand and be the example and see for myself the struggles and the support networks in place and then look to prepare our youth to be excellent candidates in the next local body elections.

Be the peace-keeper,

Be the trend setter,

Be the decision maker,

Be the motivator,

Be the unifier;

Be the example.

Ngā mihi,

Shaquille Shortland

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