Deb Stewart.

Kaiako Development Advisor, Te Aho a Māui

I tipu ake ahau i te taha o te maunga Aoraki, i te awa Waimakariri.

Nō Ōtautahi ahau

E noho ana ahau ki Ahuriri

Ko Deb Stewart taku ingoa

Ko Ingarangi, ko Koterangi, ko Īnia ngā whenua o ōku tipuna.

Warm greetings from Te Matau-a-Māui!

Recently at EIT-Te Aho a Māui we celebrated the beginning of Matariki with performance, kai and taonga tākaro. As I watched our Te Ūranga Waka kaiako and ākonga perform a sequence of waiata, I was moved by the unity arising from shared purpose, the harmonies emerging from difference, and the synergy of collaboration. The performance reflected for me the potential that exists in our families, our workplaces, our communities, our nation and the world, if we can live and work together with shared values and purpose, celebration of diversity, and a commitment to making a difference.

I call on the guidance of Hiwa-i-te-Rangi to help us all make meaningful contributions in each of these spaces to achieve a safer, fairer, and more just world. I hope to continue to do this alongside other like-minded people in my communities – Queer, tangata Te Tiriti, Teaching & Learning and TEU – and that others are inspired to team up with us and strengthen these movements.

All the elements of te taiao support us and nurture us in our endeavours, yet we continue to do harm. Te whenua is my food basket, my playground and my source of spiritual connection. Cyclone Gabrielle evidenced her fragility. I hope that we can all be kind to her, protect her and enable the restoration she, and the other elements of te taiao, deserve. Our mokopuna for generations to come are counting on us for this one.

As we find ourselves in the jaws of the current political environment and a corporate education model, my dream for tertiary education is that both individually and collectively, we can be creative enough, subversive even, to hold on to a ‘people and community-first’ approach with a social justice kaupapa. This is what I believe will ultimately enable access to education for all … and make the world a better place!

Mānawanui a Matariki!